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Ceramic Sculpture: 

Six Artists 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/ceramicscOOfole 



Ceramic Sculpture: Six Artists 



Ceramic Sculpture: 
Six Artists 



Peter Voulkos 
John Mason 
Kenneth Price 
Robert Arneson 
David Gilhooly 
Richard Shaw 



Richard Marshall and Suzanne Foley 



Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

in association with the 

University of Washington Press, Seattle and London 



This book was published in conjunction with an 
exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American 
Art, December 9, 1981-February 7, 1982, and the 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, April 
8-June 27, 1982, organized jointly by the two 
museums and supported by a grant from the 
National Endowment for the Arts. 



Cover: John Mason, Geometric Form— Red X, 1966 (detail) 
Glazed stoneware, 58M> x 59M> x 17" (148.5 x 151.1 x 43.2 cm) 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 



Copyright €> 1981 

Whitney Museum of American Art 

945 Madison Avenue 

New York. New York 10021 



NK4008.C47 730 '.0973 '07401471 81-14703 

ISBN 0-87427-035-9 iWMAA soft-cover) AACR2 
1SI5N il-:2!i.V9:>NS!t-S iUWP hard-owr) 



Contents 



Forewords 

6 by Tbm Armstrong 

7 and Henry T. Hopkins 

Preface 

8 by Richard Marshall 

Ceramic Sculpture in California: An Overview 
10 by Suzanne Foley 

Ceramic Sculpture: Six Artists 
by Richard Marshall 

40 Peter Voulkos 

56 John Mason 

70 Kenneth Price 

88 Robert Ameson 

104 David Gilhooly 

120 Richard Shaw 

137 Catalogue 



Forewords 



The Whitney Museum of American Art is 
committed to bringing to the public's attention 
innovative forms and new directions in American 
art. Ceramic art, long considered craft because of 
its association with utilitarian objects, has only 
recently begun to be considered part of the 
mainstream of our artistic culture. Richard 
Marshall and Suzanne Foley have placed the six 
artists included in this exhibition in the context of 
the tradition of ceramic art which has been 
established in California. The careers of these 
artists demonstrate the master-apprentice 
relationship which has been a marked feature of 
this tradition on the West Coast, where ceramics 
has been a major activity in university art 
departments. It is the purpose of this exhibition 
to distinguish these outstanding artists, and 
celebrate their sustained achievement in a 
medium which provides opportunities for infinite 
variation. 

The remarkable phenomenon of West Coast 
ceramic sculpture has become one of the great 
strengths of contemporary American art, and is 
now internationally recognized, particularly 
in Europe. A substantial collection has 
been assembled at the Stedelijk Museum in 
Amsterdam, for example, and American 
museums are beginning to welcome these works 
into their permanent collections. It is to be hoped 
that the stereotyped views which have excluded 
these artists and their peers will now disappear, 
and that ceramic sculpture will be judged by the 
same aesthetic criteria as other areas of 
contemporary art. 

The Whitney Museum has recognized ceramic 
sculpture in surveys of American art since the 
mid-1960s, and five of the six artists in this 



exhibition are now represented in the Permanent 
Collection. In 1976, the three senior artists — 
Peter Voulkos, John Mason, and Kenneth Price — 
were included in our major bicentennial survey, 
"200 Years of American Sculpture." 

It is refreshing to see, within this group of six 
artists, three who take on the world with a sense 
of humor, and present a satirical viewpoint in 
their works of art. Humor has come to be looked 
upon as inappropriate to significant art — a belief 
overturned by these artists. 

It has been a great pleasure to work on this 
project with the San Francisco Museum of 
Modern Art, which — more than any other 
institution — has been identified with and 
encouraged artists working in ceramic materials. 
Our association has added substantially to the 
importance of this endeavor. 

We wish to acknowledge a special debt of 
gratitude to the lenders to this exhibition, who 
by their willingness to entrust us with extremely 
fragile objects have demonstrated an enthusiasm 
for these artists equal to our own. 

Tom Armstrong 

Director 

Whitney Museum of American Art 



The staff of the San Francisco Museum of 
Modern Art has maintained a continuing interest 
in the evolution and maturation of what is now 
defined as ceramic sculpture since its acceptance 
as a viable means of artistic expression. Perhaps 
our involvement as collectors and exhibitors 
developed as a matter of pride since, as this 
exhibition proposes, the primary artists were 
working in California and fully one-third of our 
program is devoted to the presentation of artists 
connected with this state. 

The fact that loans to the exhibition are coming 
from important American and European 
museums as well as private collections indicates 
how widely and how quickly the recognition of 
this movement has spread since we were first 
exposed to the work of Peter Voulkos, John 
Mason, and Kenneth Price in Los Angeles in the 
mid-1950s. We are grateful to these lenders who 
are willing to lend their fragile objects to 
bring this exhibition to fruition in the most 
comprehensive way possible. 

It is always a gratifying experience to work 
with the staff of the Whitney Museum of 
American Art, especially so when the exhibition 
has been co-proposed and co-selected, as is 
"Ceramic Sculpture: Six Artists." The clear 
implication of this type of East/West collaboration 
is that we are not as distant in miles or in 
thought patterns about art or the importance of 
an idea as some would like to think. Richard 
Marshall and Suzanne Foley have had extensive 
conversations about who should be represented 
in the exhibition, and it is gratifying to know that 
the six artists chosen were recognized by both of 
them to be seminal to a movement which by now 
includes hundreds of able practitioners. 



Henry T. Hopkins 

Director 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 



Preface 



This exhibition presents six major artists whose 
work in clay has brought that medium into the 
mainstream of contemporary sculpture. "Ceramic 
Sculpture: Six Artists" is the first exhibition to 
explore in depth the primary artists in this field. 
It is not a comprehensive survey of all ceramic 
activity in California or on a national level, but 
focuses on six artists who have developed a 
distinctive sculptural statement with clay. Each 
has produced a strong, resourceful, and 
influential body of work, expressing individual 
points of view and diverse uses of the medium. 
The selection was limited to six artists so that 
their individual approaches to sculpture could be 
presented comprehensively and, in many cases, 
with works of an ambitious scale. With the 
proliferation of work in clay during the 1970s, it 
has become essential to make a statement about 
the origins and leaders of the ceramic movement 
in American sculpture since the 1950s. 

Although this exhibition and book 
acknowledge the evolution of recent ceramic 
history, the primary focus is the sculpture itself. 
Too often, the appreciation or recognition of a 
work of sculpture in clay is overshadowed by the 
historical circumstances from which it emerged 
or by unfounded biases against the material. This 
group of artists represents some of the most 
outstanding and influential ceramic sculptors who 
have emerged in California since the mid-1950s, 
and who are responsible for broadening the 
sculptural expression in clay from traditional pot 
and container forms to non-functional, often 
large-scale, art objects. Peter Voulkos is the 
acknowledged initiator of the revisionist approach 
to ceramic work. His pivotal position in 
California's receptive and fertile artistic 
atmosphere in the 1950s, especially in its colleges 



and universities, generated the phenomenon of a 
university-sustained ceramic movement. The 
majority of contemporary ceramic artists, 
including the six presented here, have been 
university trained, have first been introduced to 
each other's work in college ceramic depart- 
ments, and have had careers as instructors. In 
his role as teacher, Voulkos proposed and 
encouraged two major deviations from the then- 
accepted approach to ceramic use: that the utility 
of a vessel was no longer a prerequisite for its 
validity, and that ceramic materials could be used 
to create a major art form. The development of 
ceramic sculpture in California then underwent a 
geographical and stylistic shift. It began in Los 
Angeles in the mid-1950s at Otis Art Institute, 
where Voulkos was a colleague and teacher of 
John Mason and Kenneth Price. Their work 
explored gestural, abstract, and non-figurative 
sculptural forms. The shift in activity from Los 
Angeles to Northern California coincided with 
Voulkos' move to Berkeley in 1959. Here his 
influence was felt by Robert Ameson, who was 
to become the major figure of the subsequent 
generation of ceramic sculptors, including David 
Gilhooly and Richard Shaw, who used clay for 
realistic, figurative, and narrative sculptural 
expressions. 

This exhibition evolves from the exhibition 
"Clay" that was organized for the Downtown 
Branch of the Whitney Museum in 1974. It 
included over eighty works by tw T enty-eight 
artists from a number of states, and surveyed a 
wide range of sculptural styles and directions. 
That exhibition underscored the need for a more 
selective, in-depth presentation of the primary 
artists in the origins and development of 
contemporary ceramic sculpture. It also 



enhanced the need to familiarize an East Coast 
audience with an area of contemporary American 
art that had not received adequate exposure or 
attention. On the West Coast, Suzanne Foley, 
curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modem 
Art, had organized "A Decade of Ceramic Art, 
1962-1972: From the Collection of Professor and 
Mrs. R. Joseph Monsen" for that museum, and 
had become interested in the sources of this new 
form of artistic expression. Her subsequent 
exhibitions and writings on artists who were 
instrumental in the dramatic changes taking 
place in ceramic art — including Richard Shaw 
and Robert Hudson (1973), Robert Ameson 
(1974), and James Melchert (1975) — encouraged 
her to chronicle the evolution of form and 
imagery in the ceramic sculpture movement. 
In 1979 Suzanne Foley and I combined our 
parallel interests to jointly organize an exhibition 
of ceramic sculpture to be shown in New York 
and San Francisco. Grateful acknowledgment is 
extended to the artists for their continued 
assistance and cooperation, to the staffs of the 
Whitney Museum of American Ail and the San 
Francisco Museum of Modem Art for their 
commitment to the exhibition, and to the 
National Endowment for the Ails for a grant 
supporting its organization. 

Richard Marshall 

Associate Curator, Exhibitions 

Whitney Museum of American Art 



Ceramic Sculpture in 
California: An Overview 



Introduction 

Sculpture in America came into its own in the 
1950s and 1960s because it went beyond the 
traditionally addressed issues of articulated 
volume and mass. For example, the planar 
Constructivist aesthetic led to the selection of 
materials as diverse as steel I-beams or cast 
polyester resin; gestural form in Abstract 
Expressionist painting found sculptural 
realization in welded metal, carved wood, or fired 
clay. The Dada attitude toward the object as a 
literary, psychological embodiment was 
influential for artists who made assemblages of 
found objects. This introduction and combination 
of materials not normally used in making 
sculpture gave great diversity to three- 
dimensional objects, and enlarged the definition 
of sculpture. 

In this time of inquiry, the phenomenon of a 
ceramics movement in sculpture appeared on 
the West Coast. While its beginnings in the 
mid-1950s were a direct response to Abstract 
Expressionist painting, in subsequent years the 
medium of fired clay has been used for a range of 
sculptural and painting modes, so that now the 
major work being done relates to the stylistic 
concerns which occupy artists in other media. 

Several factors made this aesthetic expansion 
possible. In California in the 1950s and 1960s the 
art climate was open to experimentation. 
Physically and psychically removed from the 
New York art world, a California artist felt little 
restrained by the East Coast's hierarchical and 
traditional definitions of fine art. The less formal 
California life-style also encouraged a personal 
and artistic freedom, as did the influence of Far 
Eastern philosophies, with their attitude of 
wholeness in life and work, body and spirit. The 
concern for the psychological containment and 
physical interrelatedness of surface, form, and 
function in the Oriental craft tradition was a 
dominant influence on West Coast potters. 

As educational programs in art expanded, 
ceramics was one of many areas that received 
new emphasis. The artist-educators working in 
clay were not only participants in the nationwide 



in 



network of craft exhibitions and publications, but 
they were also colleagues of painters, poets, 
sculptors, and philosophers. As potters, they 
mastered the technical processes of creating 
functional objects within the craft tradition; 
pushing forward, they took the option of relating 
these processes to ideas outside the craft world. 

Clay as an art medium has unique qualities 
that have special appeal to the artist and viewer 
alike. Its relation to primordial expression — 
its source in the earth — gives it metaphoric 
associations with nature and man. Its plasticity 
requires an immediacy of handling, provoking the 
artist's intuitive more than conceptual response. 
Its formed and painted surface offers the special 
property of a three-dimensional painting. The 
opportunity for sculpture to convey the aesthetic 
of painting with the psychological presence of the 
object was the incentive for artists to develop 
ceramic sculpture as a new area of expression. 

The six artists in this exhibition began, in most 
cases, as studio potters, and the sources of their 
ideas were in the craft tradition. When the 
problems they set for themselves went beyond 
the handling of materials to show technical 
achievement and addressed problems of 
perception, scale, inherent energy, implied 
human presence, or psychological challenge, the 
work transcended craft and became a force in 
painting and sculpture. It was still possible for 
these ceramicists to use a plate, cup, or vase 
form, but the end product invariably defied a 
functional use. Basically, their work deals 
directly with the issue of pictorial sculpture. 
Kenneth Price confronts issues of formalist 
painting in objects of brightly colored cup or 
geometric form. In the early work of John Mason 
and Peter Voulkos, sculptural mass counter- 
pointed by painted surface imagery is imbued 
with the contained energy of gesture. In pictorial 
subject matter, Robert Ameson's visual 
metaphors add sculptural dimension to his 
expressive painting statements. David Gilhooly 
contributes mythic, narrative sculpture, while 
Richard Shaw describes pictorial illusionism in 
three dimensions. Over the past two and a half 



decades ceramic sculpture has established a place 
for itself in current sculptural expression, and 
response to it has increased on a national and 
international level. 

The Formative Years in Los Angeles: 
From Pottery to Sculpture 

Into the 1950s sculpture on the West Coast had 
virtually no indigenous expression (the exception 
being, of course, in the work of eccentric 
visionaries like Simon Rodia, whose Watts 
Towers in Los Angeles embody unique personal 
and public art expression). Sculpture in the 
modernist tradition came to California from 
elsewhere: in Southern California in the Cubist- 
rooted bronzes of Bernard Rosenthal or the 
romantic, figurative expression of Jack Zajac's 
cast images; in Northern California in the 
Surrealist-Constructivist sculpture of Adaline 
Kent and Robert Howard. Many California 
artists were trained in Europe or New York and 
developed their mature work prior to settling in 
California. It was the post-World War II genera- 
tion that developed an indigenous sculptural 
expression. 

The craft tradition in California, as well, was 
full of activity in postwar years, gaining a 
distinctive identity nationally. The "California 
look" was a colorful, informal one which 
integrated handcrafted objects into a modern 
living environment in a warm, personalizing 
manner. The many studio potters working in 
California were generally bound to the smooth 
forms and technical procedures inherited from 
European sources. An increasing interest in 
Oriental pottery, particularly Japanese folk 
pottery, produced rough, irregular shaped 
ware — potters admired the unpredictable 
changes in glazes that occurred during firing. 

In the postwar years an art student had 
the opportunity to become skilled in various 
disciplines, from drawing, painting, and 
sculpture to ceramics, metalcraft, and wood- 
working. It was through the classroom dynamic 
that a new attitude could develop which 
questioned the conventions of traditional forms 



11 



and validated alternative approaches to using 
materials. 

Such experimentation was not what Millard 
Sheets anticipated when he invited the Montana 
potter Peter Voulkos to establish a ceramics 
department at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles 
in 1954. What came out of Voulkos' five-year 
tenure in Los Angeles was an attitude about the 
artist's personal commitment to follow his 
intuitive, creative inquiry, regardless of what was 
expected of a material or an image. Bringing the 
Abstract Expressionist spirit of spontaneity and 
gesture to realization in the neglected sculptural 
medium of clay, Voulkos had a catalytic effect on 
the formal evolution of the ceramic artists who 
worked with him (Fig. 1). The individuality of 
Paul Soldner, John Mason, Kenneth Price, Billy 
Al Bengston, Jerry Rothman, Michael Frimkess, 
and Henry Takemoto — their wide-ranging 
aesthetics and formats — bear out Voulkos' role. 
These men, of varied ages and stages of pro- 
fessional development, gained from their 
association with Voulkos a commitment to risk 
and experimentation backed up by a competence 
in technical skills. 

Voulkos already had a national reputation as a 
potter when Sheets invited him to Los Angeles. 
The pots had a sureness of form, shaped directly 
on the wheel by a potter who had consummate 
skill in his craft. The inventive surface decoration 
of his pots and its compatibility to the vessel's 
form won him innumerable awards at exhibitions 
around the country and in Europe. Voulkos was 
in contact with the major figures in ceramics. 
When the English potter Bernard Leach toured 
the United States in 1952 with Shoji Hamada, 
Japan's leading potter, they visited the Archie 
Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, where 
Voulkos and Rudy Autio conducted an active 
workshop for studio potters. Yet it was Karen 
Kames' and David Wineribs invitation in 1953 to 
teach a summer session at the ceramics institute 
at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North 
Carolina, that expanded Voulkos creative 
resources. Immersed in an atmosphere of 
experimentation, surrounded by artists working 




tf 





1 



Fig. 1 Installation view, "Abstract Expressionist Ceramics, 
Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 1966. 



12 



in all media, Voulkos aesthetic horizons 
broadened. His visit was completed by a trip to 
New York with Black Mountain friends, the 
poet-painter M. C. Richards and the musician 
David Tudor. In New York, he frequented the 
Cedar Bar, meeting Jack Tworkov, Franz Kline, 
and Philip Guston. Being in the midst of the 
energy and interaction of this Tenth Street 
artists' haunt at the moment when Action 
Painting was emerging gave Voulkos' own 
interests definition. 1 

Voulkos' move to Los Angeles in 1954 was a 
turning point for him and for ceramic art. He 
frequented galleries and museums, at last seeing 
firsthand work he had known from reproductions 
in books: Picasso at the Frank Perls Gallery; 
Miro at a 1959 Los Angeles County Museum 
exhibition. Abstract Expressionist painting from 
New T York was seen increasingly in museum and 
commercial gallery exhibitions. Voulkos shared 
with artists who were his students, as well as 
with painters such as Richards Rubin, a 
consuming interest in all that was going on, not 
just in painting but in jazz, the movies, the 
"alternative" or "underground" attitudes of the 
Beat period. The teaching environment at Otis 
was equally a part of this exchange of energies. 
Working initially with students his own age- 
Paul Soldner and John Mason, who wanted to 
broaden their own skills and vision — Voulkos 
soon w T as joined by younger students, such as 
Billy Al Bengston and Kenneth Price, who were 
seeking definition in their own artistic 
commitment. 

In this environment of exchange and 
competition, and of an unspoken need for change 
in the craft tradition, Voulkos' w T ork expanded 
radically. The liberating attitudes of Abstract 
Expressionism affected his ceramics in two areas: 
in surface decoration and in sheer size and 
articulation of form. It also spurred him on to 
make paintings again. The tactile surfaces — the 
sand and impasto — on his canvases related 
directly to the surface decoration of pots and 
plates. His admiration for Picasso's approach to 
decorating clay — as if it were painting-in-the- 



round — was an incentive to create a more 
complex surface articulation on his own vessels, 
to play the two-dimensionally "drawn" image 
against the three-dimensional form. Voulkos 
applied thin clay cutouts to the pot's surface, but 
then found he could achieve a greater overall 
surface variety by assembling different pot forms 
into one unit, manipulating their shapes by 
paddling or cutting through them. By 1956, these 
assembled and decorated vessels were exhibited 
in Los Angeles at Felix Landau Gallery. 

The magazine Craft Horizons was the major 
organ of communication in crafts, reporting on 
the crafts support-system activities: the 
associations and guilds, the invitational and 
juried exhibitions, and the commercial gallery 
exhibitions. The September/October 1956 issue, 
featuring California craft activity, included an 
article on Voulkos, one of the first to appear 
nationally. Within the ceramics tradition, his 
described attitude toward teaching, his sources, 
his work method, his philosophy as an artist were 
radical. Rose Slivka wnote a perceptive review 
for Voulkos' 1957 exhibition at Bonnier's in New- 
York: 

Peter Voulkos, the potter, reveals a restlessness 
with the confines of his craft. He lias pushed it 
as far as he can in the directions of modern 
painting and sculpture, retaining only the 
central form of a basic hollow container on 
which he then proceeds to build. . . . The 
influences of Picasso, Japanese potter y and the 
American "action" school of art are there along 
with Peter Voulkos himself, who emerges as a 
truly magnetic experimentalist . This fine and 
accomplished potter, searching his craft for 
new solutions more related to the explorations 
taking place in modern art today, utilizes these 
elements: the new consciousness of spontaneity 
as a force, and the deliberate effort to achieve 
it; the charm of "accident"; the violation of 
precedent {this does not mean a disrespect for 
it) in order to disturb old ideas and stimulate 
new ones; the new freedom of the artist to 
express his particular personality and psyche 



13 



with directness and depth. Voulkos has 
ventured courageously into a risky area for 
pottos. That there is an ambivalence in his 
results is perhaps inevitable. But Peter 
Voulkos the potter and Peter Voulkos the 
painter and Peter Voulkos the sculptor all 
make a fascinating pot and a controversial 
one.' 

As his pieces evolved from vessel to sculpture, 
the assembled forms grew as large as Voulkos 
could structurally make them. Viewing a Fritz 
Wotraba sculpture exhibition gave him ideas for 
stacking and cantilevering volumes from a central 
core. Voulkos moved to a new studio in 1957, 
which he shared with John Mason; here there 
was more room to make and fire large sculpture 
(Fig. 2). By 1958, through much trial and error, 
he combined thrown and manipulated elements 
to create sculpture over five and a half feet high. 
Several series of these monumental pieces were 
made over the next two and a half years. 

An exhibition of Voulkos' sculpture and paint- 
ing at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1958 gave 
museum recognition to the mature body of work 
he had achieved. This exhibition was one in an 
ongoing series at the museum of solo shows of 
emerging talents. Director Thomas W. Leavitt 
emphatically supported Voulkos: "Voulkos is the 
outstanding pioneer in large-scale ceramic 
sculpture and his technical and creative 
innovations should have a profound influence 

upon the art of our time The impact of this 

exhibition will be enormous.'" In reporting on 
Los Angeles art for Art News in 1959, Jules 
Langsner commented that this was the liveliest 
Los Angeles art season yet; Peter Voulkos "heads 
for the front ranks of West Coast abstract 
artists." This extraordinary body of work brought 
Voulkos to national attention when he was named 
as one of Art in Americas 1959 New Talent 
artists in sculpture. This was followed in early 
1960 by a solo New York exhibition in the 
Museum of Modern Art's New Talent series in 
the Penthouse Gallery (Fig. 3). Six of the 1958^59 
sculptures and six paintings from 1958 were 




Fig. 2 Peter Voulkos in Los Angeles studio, 1959. 



1 I 




Fig. 3 Installation view, Peter Voulkos (left) at "Sculpture 
and Paintings by Peter Voulkos: New Talent in the 
Penthouse," The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1960. 



shown. The critical response, notably in two 
reviews by Dore Ashton, emphasized the organic 
quality and vitality of nature generated by the 
pieces. 

In these monumental pieces Voulkos achieved 
several definitions of sculptural form through his 
method of assembling clay forms thrown on the 
potter's wheel. Monoliths of large, bulbous parts 
assembled around a central cylinder implied mass 
and volume with a static profile. Monochromatic, 
they were covered with black iron slip, and their 
flowing surfaces reflected the modulation of light 
and shadow. 

Other pieces incorporated more angular forms 
constructed with greater diagonal thrusts. Facets 
and joined planes were emphasized or negated by 
the application of surface color — black, blue, and 
white. Voulkos expressed his interest in carrying 
further what he learned from Picasso about color 
on a three-dimensional vessel in a 1959 statement: 



/ brush color on to violate the form, and it 
coynes out a complete new thing which involves 
a painting concept on a three-dimensional 
surface, a new idea. These things are exploding, 
jumping off. I wanted to pick up that energy. 
That's different from decorating. Decorating 
enhances form, heightens the surface. I wanted 
to change the form, get more excitement going. i 

More columnar pieces of 1959-60, still 
monochromatic black, are comprised of smaller 
units, most of which are rent and gouged, giving 
a lively surface play of light and shadow. Again 
the profile is monolithic, but the sense of mass is 
contradicted by the active, plastic surface 
articulation. 

The inherent physical nature of clay imme- 
diately signals its material properties. Eveiyone 
who looks at a clay object knows what it feels like 
to the touch, because we daily handle objects 
made from clay; eveiyone knows how it responds 
to human touch, that it was once soft and 
malleable and hardened as it dried. These 
qualities give it the closest association of any 
sculptural material to the intuitive spontaneity of 



15 



the Abstract Expressionist attitude toward 
making art — an attitude responsible for Voulkos' 
short span of production in monumental clay 
sculpture. As he commented, "The minute you 
begin to feel you understand what you're doing, 
it loses that searching quality" 5 In 1960 his search 
for solutions to cantilevering forms and more 
open structure in his sculpture led Voulkos to 
cast in bronze the elements for assembly — still an 
intuitive procedure, but slower. 

Voulkos' approach to making ceramic 
sculpture — no matter how large, no matter how 
many elements went into a piece — was still based 
in the potter's wheel, where every element had 
its beginning. For this reason, his sculptures 
clearly differentiated form and surface. Two of 
the artists working with him at Otis Art 
Institute — John Mason and Kenneth Price — 
created sculpture in clay where form and surface 
were one. Their three-dimensional works, each in 
diametrically opposed ways, related to different 
issues in painting. 

John Mason had been making pottery for about 
four years before he joined Voulkos at Otis Art 
Institute in 1954. The association enabled Mason 
to break through the conventions of the craft 
tradition that had restricted his intuitive 
response to the plasticity of the medium. Quickly 
he exploited this plasticity in a pot form by 
denting, flattening, or creasing the vessels, or in 
clay plaques by subjecting them to surface 
incident of dent, fold, or tear. By 1957, Mason 
concentrated on building forms of clay reflecting 
the physical properties of the medium. In a 
series of wall reliefs, he assembled strips and 
hunks of clay in gestural configurations, like 
brushstrokes in clay. A large wall-relief piece in 
1960, comprised of eighteen two-foot-square 
rectangles, had a troweled, modeled, landscape- 
associated surface, which reflected an active play 
of light and shadow (Fig. 4). Generally 
monochromatic, through the application of 
colored slip, the pieces were often heightened 
with the bright local color of low-fire glazes. 
Showing little debt to recent sculptural 
predecessors, these reliefs emulated the gestural 



content of Abstract Expressionist painting. 

By 1960, Mason concentrated on a series of 
freestanding vertical sculptures, made by 
assembling rectilinear strips or hunks of clay into 
a columnar shape. This approach related the 
space-form tensions of the surface articulation to 
the contained energy of the mass, evoking a 
vigorous sculptural presence. The vertical, 
columnar form of Mason's sculpture implied an 
organic, growing energy. To probe to the source 
of this energy and take his formal investigations 
to an essential, primordial expression, Mason 
began building cross-shaped pieces, simplifying 
the gesture around a centralized source of 
energy and thereby achieving a more abstract 
symbolism. Subsequently, the attenuated cross 
arms were contained in massive circle or cross 
forms — stele-like monochromatic pieces. 

In the 1950s Mason consistently showed 
ceramic plates, pots, and sculptural forms in 
pottery exhibitions. However, in this same 
period, his ideas and inquiries about art were 
allied with a group of Los Angeles painters for 
whom Abstract Expressionist painting prompted 
experimentation. Greater visibility was offered 
these artists in March 1957, when Walter Hopps 
and Edward Kienholz, who had each been 
showing the work of young artists in their 
respective galleries, joined forces to open the 
Ferus Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in Los 
Angeles. Painting dominated the gallery's 
schedule, but in the summer of that year the 
gallery showed its first exhibition of objects — 
ceramics by Paul Soldner, John Mason, and Jerry 
Rothman, all artists who were working with 
Peter Voulkos at Otis Art Institute. In the fall of 
1957 Mason had a solo exhibition at Ferus, 
followed by three more, in 1959, 1961, and 1963. 
(The gallery closed in 1966.) In May 1960, Mason's 
sculpture was presented in a solo exhibition at 
the Pasadena Art Museum (Fig. 5), and he was 
selected for inclusion in Art i)i America's New 
Talent issue in 1961 — but in the Crafts section. 
By 1959 and 1960 both Mason's ceramic pottery 
and his fired-clay sculpture were shown 
regionally as well as in major national compe- 




Fig. 4 John Mason in Los Angeles studio, 1960. 



17 





Fig. 5 Installation view, "John Mason," Pasadena Art 
Museum, 1960. 



titive and invitational exhibitions. Critics such as 
Los Angeles' Jules Langsner often prefaced 
comments on the sculpture with observations 
like: "Abstract fired-clay sculpture has appeared 
here in the last few years with remarkable 
vigor."" 

In the early 1960s, the emerging vanguard in 
Los Angeles painting and sculpture quickly grew 
beyond the expressionist ethos and assumed 
clearer definition. Attention shifted from the 
experience of the artist recorded by the painting 
or sculpture to the viewer's experience through 
the color, surface quality, and the object's 
inherent material presence. For artists, the most 
liberating aspect of this focus was the use of 
"non- art" industrial materials: automobile- 
body lacquers, epoxies, and plastics. The 
implementation of these materials w y as a central 
aspect of the content of the work, so that a 
thoroughly crafted conception defined the piece. 
From 1960 to 1965, the Ferns Gallery exhibitions 
of Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, 
Craig Kauffman, and Kenneth Price gave public 
expression to this change. 

Kenneth Price and Billy Al Bengston both 
grew up in Los Angeles and had been friends for 
three years, throughout their art studies, w T hen 
they sought out Peter Voulkos' ceramics class at 
Otis Art Institute in 1956. The freewheeling 
inquiry that the Voulkos milieu offered during 
their two-year stay contributed in different 
degrees to each artist's identification of himself. 
At Otis, Price's cup, plate, and jar forms were 
more reductive in shape than those of his 
colleagues, with the surface design or incident 
always integral to the form, always conscious of 
the edge, however spontaneous they may appear. 
Price ranks high among contemporary artists 
w 7 hose conceptually based art finds expression in 
the material and format that best convey the 
idea. So a cup or a drawing or a clay "egg" or a 
Mexican curio shop are each equally viable 
expressions, with no hierarchical deference. 
Once accepted, this premise reveals the 
resourcefulness of an outstanding, creative mind. 
It also seems to reflect the area in which todav's 



l- 



artist has learned the most from the genius of 
artists like Picasso and Duchamp. 

Prices temperament took him in late 1958 to a 
discipline at the opposite pole from the Voulkos 
workshop, a year at the New York State College 
of Ceramics at Alfred, the famed school of 
ceramic technology', best known for its work in 
ceramic glazes. On his return to Los Angeles in 
1959, Price showed in a summer group exhibition 
at the Ferus Gallery and began to plan for his 
first solo exhibition there the following year. 
From that time on, Price's unique sculptural 
expression has developed consistently, resulting 
in a total body of work that today makes a 
decided contribution to American sculpture (Fig. 
6). Lucy R. Lippard characterizes his position 
well in a 1966 catalogue essay: 




Fig. 6 Installation view, "Five Los Angeles Sculptors," 
Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 1966; from 
left, Kenneth Price's 5. Violet (1963), B. G. Red (1963), and 
C. G. White (1963X 



He is involved in a peculiarly contemporary 
dialectic, but he has deliberately read himself 
out of the vanguard race for innovation. His 
pace, like his morphology, is his own. He has 
chosen an idiom central to modem art in 
which the working decisions are flexible 
instead of fixed. There is in his work that 
simultaneous commitment and detachment 
identified with the increasingly Oriental cast of 
Western thought , an unsentimental respect for 
the shiny armoured surfaces of a luxury 
civilization as well as a precise and delicate 
awareness of the most elusive bonds between 
man and nature. These are not contradictory 
but complementary aspects of modern life. 1 

Price's small sculpture has a monumentally of 
scale. He made egg-shaped works no larger than 
fifteen inches and some small "specimen" pieces 
three inches long in elaborately designed 
containers. Always conscious of its total impact, 
Price presented his sculpture on bases, and often 
pedestals, which he conceived as integral to the 
work. The orb or mound shape basic to this 
sculpture evokes the symbolism of an archetypal 
form. This is further enforced by the small 
aperture in the surface, revealing tendril-like 
forms, creating a tension between the contained. 



19 



inert shell and the implied growth of the tendrils. 
Yet this mystery of implied meaning is almost 
negated by the form's brilliant color. Applied to 
these rounded forms, the intense color becomes a 
physical form. The seamless aspect of the orb 
supported by an encircling band of another hue 
enforces the three-dimensional presence of the 
color. In contrast to the record of facture evident 
in Voulkos' and Mason's clay sculpture, the clay 
support for Price's color is anonymous. Only 
subtle attention to surface texture, which 
variegates the glossy surface of the glaze or 
lacquer, gives hint of a support body. While one 
can make association with the hard-edged 
abstract painting in Los Angeles, color is Price's 
intuitive sensibility. A product of this unique 
vision, his sculpture becomes a three-dimensional 
canvas. 

Ceramics as Sculpture: Critical Reception 

In craft exhibitions during the early 1960s the 
non-utilitarian, expressionist use of clay 
represented a revolutionary attitude. Rose 
Slivka, the perceptive editor of Craft Horizons, 
was in touch with both the generative years of 
Abstract Expressionist painting and sculpture in 
New York and with activity in the craft world. 
Her discussions with Peter Voulkos in 1960 
supported her contention that the new energies 
and concerns of Action Painting were finding 
similar expression in clay. Her 1961 article "The 
New Ceramic Presence" remains the lexicon for 
sculptural expression in ceramics. s The article 
discusses attitudes, procedures, and sources for 
this expression in contemporary culture, but cites 
no individual artists as examples. It is illustrated, 
however, with photographs of vessels and plates 
by fifteen artists.'' Since the magazine's largest 
constituency expected it to confirm the 
traditional craft ideal rather than justify the 
relevance of the experimental, the article stirred 
discontent among craftsmen. 

Ceramic sculpture fit in easily with painting 
and sculpture since the trend to diversity meant 
that a wide variety of materials was being used 
as sculptural media. This was reflected nationally 



in established group exhibitions, such as the 
Art Institute of Chicago's Annual American 
Art Exhibitions or the Whitney Museum of 
American Art's Annual Exhibitions in New York. 
Especially controversial was the Whitney's 1964 
Annual, "Contemporary American Sculpture," in 
which John Mason was included, for the range of 
styles and materials being employed under the 
guise of sculptural expression. As well, special 
exhibitions on both coasts were organized to 
recognize this resurgence of activity in sculpture. 
Ceramic sculpture was included in most of the 
large exhibitions. 

While the fired and painted ceramic sculpture 
of Peter Voulkos, John Mason, and Kenneth 
Price was shown in these national exhibitions, 
California exhibitions had a greater variety of 
artists using clay sculpturally. In Northern 
California in 1963 at least four different group 
exhibitions occurred within a short enough time 
to be reviewed critically in an overall assessment 
of the current innovations in sculpture in w T hich 
clay played a prominent role. 1 " 

The most influential of these exhibitions — 
because it was published most visibly — was a 
summer one of almost fifty works, "California 
Sculpture," held at the Kaiser Center under the 
auspices of the Oakland Art Museum (Figs. 7, 8). 
The w r orks were selected by Paul Mills, director 
of the Oakland Art Museum, Walter Hopps, then 
curator of the Pasadena Ait Museum, and John 
Coplans, Editor-at-Large of Artforum magazine. 
This San Francisco-based magazine, a year old in 
1963, featured the Kaiser Center exhibition in its 
August issue. The lead article by Coplans, who 
came to California in 1961, discussed current 
developments in sculpture in the state. He 
focused on the Southern California ceramics 
movement's germinal influence, through the work 
of Peter Voulkos, John Mason, and Kenneth 
Price. He mentioned as well the contribution of 
assemblagists Wallace Berman, Edward 
Kienholz, and Bruce Conner to an indigenous 
expression in California art. 

Coplans' discussion of Northern California 
focused on two institutions: the San Francisco 



20 



- 




Fig. 7 Installation view of Peter Voulkos' Sevillanas 
(1959), "California Sculpture," Kaiser Center, Oakland, 
California, 1963. 



Fig. 8 Installation view of John Mason's Cross (1963), "Cal- 
ifornia Sculpture," Kaiser Center, Oakland, California, 1963. 



21 



Art Institute and the University of California, 
Berkeley. At the former, expressionist-oriented 
sculpture of welded metal, wood, and plaster by 
Robert Hudson, Alvin Light, and Manuel Neri 
dominated, while bronze casting characterized 
the work from the University of California 
campus — sculpture by Peter Voulkos, Harold 
Paris, and Don Haskin. Voulkos' presence in 
Berkeley since late 1959 had attracted a group of 
artists who used clay as a major material in their 
sculpture, often in combination with other 
materials. Represented by ceramic pieces in the 
Kaiser Center sculpture exhibition were Stephen 
De Staebler, Michael Frimkess, James Melchert, 
and Win Ng. The August 1963 Artforum 
concluded with a picture portfolio of sculpture by 
more than seventy-five artists in California, 
illustrating ceramic sculpture by eleven of them. 
The front cover dramatically reproduced a 
Kenneth Price sculpture — a red sculpture against 
a red background — and the back cover showed a 
view of the Kaiser Center exhibition featuring 
the Peter Voulkos ceramic sculpture Little Big 
Horn. 

When the Los Angeles County Museum of Art 
moved into new buildings in 1964, it reflected the 
growing importance of Los Angeles as a national 
art center. Artforum moved its offices from San 
Francisco to Los Angeles in the fall of 1965. 
With the presentation of the major exhibition 
"American Sculpture of the Sixties" in 1967 at the 
Los Angeles County Museum of Ail, it was clear 
that the Minimalist aesthetic was predominant in 
Southern California and that nationally, color in 
sculpture raised new issues about the relation- 
ship of painting to sculpture. 11 Included in the 
exhibition were John Mason's reductive clay 
sculptures. Impressive five-foot-high rectangles 
with monochromatic glazes gestural enough to 
suggest a painterly surface, they were Color 
Field paintings in a tangible, physical presence. 

In the 1960s, John Coplans made a distinctive 
contribution as critic and curator in identifying 
and interpreting the new aesthetics emerging in 
California art. Coplans espoused the clay 
sculpture "movement" and identified it in many 



articles from 1963 to 1966. '" His convictions about 
the germinal influence of the Voulkos years in the 
late 1950s at Otis Art Institute were made visible 
in the 1966 exhibition "Abstract Expressionist 
Ceramics" at the University of California, Irvine. 
In the catalogue essay, Coplans discussed 
expressionist ceramics produced over a ten-year 
period in California, yet the exhibition was 
not a historical survey. " In the same year, he 
wrote a catalogue essay for the John Mason solo 
exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of 
Art and organized two exhibitions of Los Angeles 
artists in which Kenneth Price was included: 
"Five Los Angeles Sculptors," for the Art 
Gallery at the University of California, Irvine, 
and "Ten from Los Angeles," for the Seattle Art 
Museum. 

Northern California: 

From Abstraction to Representation 

Peter Voulkos' residency in the San Francisco 
Bay Area was a catalyst for work in ceramic 
sculpture, even though Voulkos himself soon 
began to work only in bronze. In the fall of 1959, 
he had been appointed by the art and design 
departments at the University of California, 
Berkeley, to develop a ceramics department. His 
arrival attracted graduate students James 
Melchert and Stephen De Staebler, who both 
earned master's degrees in sculpture from the 
university in 1961. Since his student years, 
De Staebler has produced a consistent and 
impressive body of ceramic sculpture in an 
expressionist, direct approach to the materials, 
creating fragmented torsos in totemic columns. 
Other artists, such as Ron Nagle, came 
especially to study with Voulkos in ceramics, 
even though most of Voulkos' energies were going 
into building a foundry with sculptors Don 
Haskin (who had recently come from Minnesota) 
and Harold Paris (newly arrived from New York). 
In the sculpture and design departments clay 
was but one of the materials available. Students 
and teachers alike made clay sculpture or used it 
in multimedia constructions, as well as learned 
casting and welding techniques. Harold Paris 



22 



made several large clay wall reliefs and found his 
expressive imagery well suited to abstract clay 
sculpture, although he continued to work in cast 
bronze. 

Traditionally, the San Francisco Bay Area 
was an active area for crafts, particularly 
ceramics, and a number of nationally known 
potters worked or taught there — in particular 
Marguerite Wildenhain and Antonio Prieto. In 
the 1950s ceramics classes were taught at the 
California College of Arts and Crafts and Mills 
College in Oakland, and across the bay at the San 
Francisco Art Institute (then the California 
School of Fine Arts). By the 1960s non-utilitarian 
work, both Constructivist and expressionist in 
approach, was appearing. Win Ng, who 
graduated in 1959 from the California School of 
Fine Arts, exhibited Constructivist-related 
abstract clay sculpture that same year in a San 
Francisco Art Association Painting and Sculpture 
Annual, and in 1961 in a solo exhibition at Mi 
Chou Gallery in New York. 

The announcement in the September 1960 
Oakland Art Museum Bulletin for recent Mills 
College graduate Robert Ameson's current 
exhibition reflects a similar transition from craft 
to sculpture: 

Originally planned as a pottery exhibition, 
this turns out to be almost more of a sculpture 
show. Robert Arneson, like other adventurous 
young cera?nicists, has pushed beyond the craft 
of useful objects into a world of large, vigorous 
sculpture which exists for the sake of 
expression only. Arneson shows with the Mills 
College Ceramic Guild and in distinguished 
ceramic exhibitions throughout the country. 

"Work in Clay by Six Artists," held at the San 
Francisco Art Institute in late 1962, exhibited 
work of former Voulkos students James 
Melchert, Stephen De Staebler, Ron Nagle, and 
Ann Stockton, along with Art Institute artists 
Ricardo Gomez and Manuel Neri. Nagle by 
that time had begun to work with low-fire 
earthenware, experimenting with glazes, lustres 



and silkscreened photo-decals — factors in the 
change that was taking place in ceramic art. 
Melchert was using lustres on stoneware for 
surface texture contrasts, to make it look wet. 

The focus on surface decoration that occupied 
Nagle and Melchert presaged a new and 
influential direction in ceramic sculpture. By 1962 
they were both teaching at the San Francisco Art 
Institute, where they were colleagues of Manuel 
Neri, a sculptor who put swaths of bright-colored 
paint on life-size plaster figures as if they were 
canvases, and Joan Brown, whose colorful 
impasto paintings of figures and interiors could 
also appear as abstract paint gestures. When 
they saw Kenneth Prices high-color mono- 
chromatic sculptures in Los Angeles, Melchert 
and Nagle were acutely aware of how the 
perception of an object's form can be manipulated 
by color. They began using earthenware, low-fire 
glazes, and china paints, so the emphasis at 
the Art Institute shifted from stoneware to 
earthenware clay bodies on which color described 
a three-dimensional image. 

That color could define or distort form was of 
growing interest in sculpture generally, in work 
as diverse as that of Claes Oldenburg, George 
Sugarman, and, in the San Francisco Bay Area, 
Robert Hudson, William Geis, and Ron Nagle. 
What Nagle did with color in ceramics related 
more closely to the new aesthetic in Los Angeles, 
where the artist employed the processes or 
materials of commercial production. Nagle used 
the cup form as his basic image. His thin- walled 
earthenware cups and jars are reductive fomis 
that focus attention on the sensuous aura of color 
he created on the surface. They became so highly 
stylized that the surface articulation and color 
were intrinsic to this three-dimensional "shaped 
canvas." Nagle's influence has been great through 
his attention to craftsmanship and his approach 
to subject matter — the cup as formal vehicle 
rather than as utilitarian function. 

A shift of content took place in the art of the 
early 1960s, which necessarily encompassed 
ceramic sculpture. In the San Francisco Bay 
Area the transition from self-referential formal 



23 



considerations to thematic subject matter with 
personalized reference gave a unique quality to 
Northern California art. Three influences shaped 
the approach. Painting had espoused figurative 
and landscape subject matter in the late 1950s, 
albeit with an Abstract Expressionist brush. The 
assemblagists, an active aspect of San Francisco's 
Beat-period art scene in the early 1960s, literally 
incorporated objects from everyday experience 
into their art with distinctly Surrealist overtones. 
Pop Art, in its East Coast exponents, provided a 
vocabulary and direct sources for ideas and 
images. Out of these grew the distinctive concept 
of "personal myth." For an artist, the primary 
sources for expression relate to a perception of 
meaning within the individuals private world. 
This identification with personal experience 
focuses on one's immediate environment and 
communicates a similar immediacy. William T 
Wiley or Robert Hudson, in their painting and 
sculpture, developed a vocabulary of personal 
images, pyramids, Benday dots, and stripes, 
which they used formally to describe the 
"situation" that was taking place. In ceramics, 
James Melchert developed a series of clay 
"ghostware" pieces in 1964 which incorporated a 
blindfolded mask on boxes or plates with cryptic 
symbols, parts of words, or patches of stripes or 
dots. The pieces implied an event or situation. 
Subsequent objects that he made of clay from 
1965 to 1970 conveyed fragmented experience 
through visual language — a cast hand setting 
down (or picking up?) a coffee cup, a game board 
with a coat hanger or block letters as playing 
elements. Other artists pitted the enigma of 
incidents from their daily experiences against the 
conventions of art expression with results akin to 
Surrealism or Dada. A typewriter Robert 
Arneson made of glazed earthenware in 1966 had 
fingertips with bright red fingernails in place of 
keys. An entire exhibition, "The Slant Step 
Show" in 1966, centered on a slanted step William 
Wiley bought for Bruce Nauman in a salvage 
store. Subject matter from the banal to the 
fantastic broadened art expression beyond the 
conventional expectations of painting and 



sculpture. And ceramic sculpture was a primary 
beneficiary of this change." 

Robert Ameson's development of subject 
matter opened up a whole area of thematic 
sculpture. Clay was an especially adaptable 
medium — clay bodies could be hand-formed, 
molded, or slip-cast and painted or glazed to 
achieve a variety of forms, surface textures, and 
colors. In Ameson's work the potential of the 
three-dimensional painting in the exposition of 
the personal myth was fully realized, and he was 
the most influential artist working in clay in 
Northern California in the late 1960s and well 
into the 1970s. 

Ameson's move from expressionist pots to 
objects began with items of daily use and the 
associations they provoked. These inevitably 
engaged fantasies of experience or word-play, 
especially puns and their multiple levels of 
meaning. For example, the 1961 bottle No 
Ret u m, shaped on the potter's w r heel but topped 
with a clay bottle cap and embellished with the 
words "No Deposit," was at once an actual 
object, a representation of a bottle, and in pun, a 
"pop" bottle. The relation of fantasy to everyday 
object produced both surreal images — a toaster 
with fingers reaching out of the slot — and 
humorous images, such as the carton of six 
bottles of Diet Pepsi portrayed as thin, 
attenuated bottles. Fantasy did not restrict him 
from using sexual or scatological images. A series 
of toilets, urinals, and trophies ("loving cups") 
with hearts and genitals (Fig. 9) received 
considerable critical attention in their San 
Francisco and New York showings: "art and 
artifacts for a crazed civilization, uniform in 
innocence, obscenity, and something like 
grandeur." 15 Reactions to the sculpture made 
Arneson realize the psychological power an 
object held. 

From the stoneware, self-contained objects-as- 
ideas, Arneson moved to making series of 
objects, almost as expositions of ideas. A change 
from stoneware to earthenware in the mid-1960s 
seemed equivalent to a move from oil painting to 
watercolor. In fact, almost all his thematic series 



24 




Fig. 9 Robert Arneson with trophy sculptures, 19(34. 



included watercolors and drawings as well as 
sculpture. For Ameson the clay body was a blank 
canvas to be painted with bright, freely brushed 
glazes. In a series of dirty dishes, the objects 
were formed as well as painted illusionistically. 
Arneson's subject matter addressed not only 
nostalgia for the artifacts of our own time — in a 
brilliant series on his suburban tract house on 
Alice Street in Davis — but seemingly endless 
sources in the history of ceramics and ceramic 
processes, from Sung-inspired celadon porcelains 
to terra-cotta bricks. With the 1966 opening in 
San Francisco of the Avery Brundage Collection 
of Asian Ail in the Brundage Wing (now the 
Asian Art Museum) at the M. H. de Young 
Memorial Museum, centuries of Oriental 
ceramics were available for study. Arneson's use 
of a specific clay body and glaze to convey a 
particular idea is so imaginative and pertinent 
that you cannot conceive of the idea being made 
in any other way. His life-size presentation of 
themes was especially important in the early 
1970s, when he began making a self-portrait head 
to embody an "idea." Encompassing emotions or 
actions, the heads convey relatively abstract 
themes through an explicit, familiar reality — the 
Ameson visage. 

Robert Arneson's portrait heads have grown in 
scale and diversity in the past decade. He has 
made busts of friends or famous people, dwelling 
on salient characteristics of personality and 
physiognomy. His own portrait heads continue to 
reflect metaphorically on the human condition, 
not without the regenerative Ameson humor 
(Fig. 10). The translucency of color that Ameson 
has achieved in lithographs is captured similarly 
on the clay surfaces, visually dissolving the 
surface plane in painterly definition. His 
sculpture, both in theme and execution, is among 
the most poignant figure sculpture being created. 

Puns and surreal juxtapositions find basic 
parallels in human experience. This attitude 
was most influential in the 1960s in the art 
department at the University of California, 
Davis, eighty miles east of San Francisco. 
Working with William T. Wiley, Roy De Forest, 



25 




Fig. 10 Robert Ameson working on Up Against It 
in Benicia, California, studio, 1977. 



26 



or Robert Ameson, students as diverse as Bruce 
Nauman and David Gilhooly developed their own 
mature statements in art. As Ameson's ceramic 
sculpture evolved in thematic subjects, other 
artists studying with him developed their own 
vocabularies of images, sharing and borrowing 
ideas in a working community. They each claimed 
areas of subject matter for themselves to which 
they custom-fit technical processes. The ceramics 
output approximated a collection of visual poems 
and short stories. David Gilhooly, at Davis from 
1963 through 1967, made life-size animals (or 
parts, like a camel's head), some rare or extinct, 
some household pets. All were named after 
friends or relatives and even suggested a reverse 
anthropomorphism, since they were so lovable 
and wanting to please. Margaret Dodd from 
Australia replicated in toy size the vans and cars 
of friends in colorful ceramic sculpture. Peter 
VandenBerge, a graduate student in the early 
1960s, created heads of an expressionist nature 
and glazed-together tea sets. Graduate student 
Chris Unterseher made miniature narrative 
tableaux, featuring Boy Scout episodes, surfing 
escapades, or family vacation travels inspired by 
National Geographic magazine; they were 
chronicles of Americana. As his work evolved, he 
focused more on the essence of the subject in 
increasingly abstract compositions. In his 
graduate studies at Davis, Richard Shaw made 
small, realistic environments, like restaurant 
interiors or a theater box-office booth, which 
were inhabited by anonymous clay people. He 
also made cows of clay on which he painted their 
landscape habitat, a transition to the surreal 
juxtapositions he would invent in the 1971 ship 
sinking in an ocean painted on the cushions of a 
clay sofa (Fig. 11). 

This attention to object making in Northern 
California ceramics dominated a 1965 exhibition, 
"New Ceramic Forms," at the Museum of 
Contemporary Crafts, New York. The change in 
approach to form, image, and technique 
manifested by a Richard Shaw miniature 
armchair, Joseph Pugliese shoe, or Robert 
Ameson six-pack was assessed as a positive, 




Fig. 11 Installation view, "Richard Shaw," Quay Gallery, 
San Francisco, 1971. 



127 



broadening vision for ceramic art." 1 

While the 1967 exhibition "American Sculp- 
ture of the Sixties" at the Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art established the Southern 
California Minimalist aesthetic in a national 
context, an exhibition at the University Art 
Museum, University of California, Berkeley, 
attempted to designate a distinctive Northern 
California "style." With the exhibition "Funk," 
Peter Selz described an art expression that was 
non-formalist, "bizarre . . . sensuous; and 
frequently it is quite ugly and ungainly — Funk 
art ... is largely a matter of attitude. But many 
of the works also reveal certain similar 
characteristics of form — or anti-form." 17 The 
works of art that he selected could be judged on 
their own merits. Some were powerful, eccentric 
statements; others were self-conscious, student 
gestures. The characteristics of form they had in 
common had little, if anything, to do with the 
origin of the term "funk" in San Francisco Bay 
Area art, thus confusing the earlier attitude and 
the present images. 1 " While the term usually 
describes images that are made purposely in bad 
taste or to test the limits of outrageousness, 
"funk" has been used in art criticism to identify 
any art of expressionist subject matter from 
Northern California. Robert Arneson's ceramic- 
objects, with their punning and wry humor, 
especially fall prey to dismissal as "funk" art, 
rather than be appraised as expressions of visual 
metaphors. 

The 1970s: Diversity of Styles 

The 1970s was a decade in American art which 
saw the greatest decentralization of art activity 
since the 1930s. This occurred because there was 
no singular, dominant style on the New York 
scene, so that an artist had more freedom to 
choose subject matter, "style," and media. 
Consequently, the most diverse expressions were 
validated as art. Not only did the vestiges of 
process and materials art from the 1960s continue 
and become finite and more elegant — in what 
Lucy R. Lippard has called "eccentric 
abstraction" 1 ' —but the opposite pole, Super 



Realism, was espoused by many painters. As 
well, issues of Minimalism, of Surrealism as it 
was realized through collage and assemblage, of 
Conceptual art, and of narrative art were 
addressed in direct, approachable works of art. 
The artist, finding the idealism of an earlier 
decade irrelevant to making sense out of his or 
her own time, focused on day-to-day subject 
matter. Rather than build an abstract sculpture 
that referred to a heroic scene, an artist might 
choose to replicate old work shoes, implying their 
discard after years of wear, as Marilyn Levine did 
in stoneware. An increasing number of artists 
found clay the most relevant medium for them. 
Some strong, individual statements have been 
made in clay that thematically relate to painting 
or sculpture approaches. Prominent among them 
are narrative art and art that reflects a Surrealist 
assemblage interest. 

The interest in subject matter related to 
personal experience provoked a resurgence of 
narrative art. While drawing and painting lend 
themselves more naturally to visual exposition, 
the unique quality of clay to create three- 
dimensional paintings has provoked some 
imaginative narrative sculpture. David Gilhooly is 
perhaps the major exponent of this idiom. The 
story he tells, the myth of the Frog World, and 
the characters in his story, described in a freely 
formed, brightly colored manner, would 
traditionally have been realized in paintings or 
drawings. In sculpture this fantasy really 
exists — in a tangible reality. 

Gilhooly has revealed his narrative with the 
tongue-in-cheek authority of a historian or 
anthropologist. He made a few frog pieces after 
he left the University of California, Davis, in 
1967, but not until he moved in 1969 to Regina, 
Saskatchewan, did he discover the whole frog 
civilization. The frog world is virtually a parallel 
to that of man and has had some surprisingly 
parallel religions, leaders, and artifacts. 
Gilhooly s amazing intuition in developing 
the frog-world images provokes levels of 
association — the mythic, the symbolic — beyond 
the appealing, humorous image. With their 



•> 



obvious human parallels frog activities give 
humans an oblique look at themselves, to laugh 
or shudder. The series as a whole becomes 
political and social satire in the tradition of 
Gulliver's Travels. The pervasive spirit in all 
Gilhooly's work, beginning with the objects and 
animals of the late 1960s, is one of a humanistic 
concern for social responsibility and values. 

Gilhooly's attitude toward his work represents 
a non-elitist approach to art objects, an attitude 
prevalent among artists in the 1970s. He makes 
art for all pocketbooks. He markets the work 
assiduously, selling donuts and vegetables off a 
vegetable-cart sculpture or making "mass- 
produced" frog-tacos or frog-chip cookies. This 
style of art-and-life, myth-and-reality, is 
Gilhooly's special mastery, and its realization 
in his narrative sculpture has contributed a 
resourceful body of work to American sculpture. 
Gilhooly's work has been shown extensively in 
solo gallery and museum exhibitions in the 
United States and Canada, and appears in 
several permanent installations — one, an ark of 
animals at the entrance to the Seattle Zoo 
(Fig. 12). 

During the mid-1960s, when ceramic artists 
shifted from high-fire stoneware, where their 
interests focused on the forms they achieved, to 
low-fire earthenware and its brightly colored 
surface decoration, more than technical changes 
took place. The sources for ceramic art 
broadened to encompass contemporary and 
historical art, the decorative art of the 1920s and 
1930s — Wool worths knickknacks, comball 
souvenir postcards, surburban lawn and garden 
sculpture 20 — along with techniques from 
commercial ceramics and industry. The 
meticulous attention to craftsmanship in work by 
Kenneth Price in Los Angeles and Ron Nagle in 
San Francisco gave a pristine aesthetic to the 
ceramic art of the 1960s. This was heightened in 
the 1970s by Nagle's student Richard Shaw, when 
he began working in porcelain in 1971. 

Shaw worked with porcelain for a two-year 
period in his Bay Area studio with sculptor 
Robert Hudson, each producing a unique group 




Fig. 12 David Gilhooly with Seattle's Own Ark, 1979, 
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington; City of Seattle 
1% for Art, Department of Parks and Recreation Collection. 



29 



of pieces (Fig. 13). Slip-casting molds made from 
everyday objects — fish, duck decoys, rocks, 
squash, or twigs — they combined these elements 
with thrown or hand-built cups, bottles, or pot 
forms. Decorating the matte surface with 
underglaze or china paints, they achieved the 
appearance of the real object. These cast parts 
were combined in a composition as formal 
elements, obscuring both the original function of 
the object and the intended function — teapot, 
cup, lidded jar — of the porcelain piece. A fish 
suspended on a curved tube over a fluted base 
forms a teapot. In Shaw's earthenware pieces of 
the 1960s, the painted imagery supported 
surrealistic associations — an ocean liner sinking 
into the sofa on which the ocean was painted. 
Here the painted forms replicate the imagery and 
their combinations provoke surrealistic 
overtones. 

Shaw continued to work in porcelain after 
completing the 1971-73 series of cups, jars, and 
teapots. He perfected a technique of replicating 
surfaces through photo-silkscreen decals. His 
images also became more realistic. Shaw made 
stacks of books with old letters and pencils on 
them and tenuously balanced stacks of playing 
cards. The affinity with American nineteenth- 
century trompe-l'oeil painting was greatest in 
wall reliefs of simulated clippings and letters. 
Most recently Shaw has made lanky figures, 
assemblages of bottles, boxes, cans, twigs, 
pencils — his entire repertoire of images (Fig. 14). 
These pieces go one step beyond the multimedia 
assemblages of the 1950s and 1960s, where real 
objects were combined in a formal context, yet 
still retained the material immediacy of their 
former use. A discarded coffee can balanced on a 
curved stick with a hatchet lashed to it was a 
sculpture of found objects for an assemblagist. 
Here Shaw makes these parts of porcelain and 
replicates the surface appearance by painting or, 
for the coffee-can label, with a photo-silkscreen 
decal. In effect, on the homogeneous surface of 
porcelain is a picture of these real objects. The 
total image is relayed by the aesthetic of the 
medium, similar to a photograph or trompe-l'oeil 




Fig. 13 Robert Hudson (left) and Richard Shaw (right) in 
Stinson Beach, California, studio, 1972. 



30 




Fig. 14 Richard Shaw in Fairfax, California, studio, 1978. 



31 



painting, where the photographic process or the 
paint describes the information about the objects. 
A psychological distance from the original object 
is thereby created. The enigma of context is a 
consistent characteristic of Shaw's pieces. The 
porcelain elements continue to be used for formal 
reasons to develop an interesting composition; 
the context or story they convey is in the viewer's 
imagination and sense of discovery. While Shaw's 
influence has been great in his exploration and 
refinement of technical processes, his own work 
avoids being only an exercise of skill. His 
technical virtuosity is transcended by his delight 
with imagery and his love of humor. 

As more and more artists have worked in 
clay in the 1970s, their distance from the 
breakthrough years has given them freedom to 
relate their work directly to ideas in painting and 
sculpture. The control and mastery of technical 
processes has brought about imagery as diverse 
as the replicated leather objects of Marilyn 
Levine, miniature porcelain narratives of Chris 
Unterseher, symbolic sea tableaux of John Roloff, 
geometrically based forms of David Middlebrook, 
and grid-patterned wall plaques of Tony 
Costanzo. As well, ceramic sculpture has found 
ready expression for psychological expositions of 
human concerns in the imagery of Viola Frey, 
David Best, and Karen Breschi. 

For ceramic sculpture, like other special art 
expressions, there are particular individuals 
and institutions whose perceptive vision has 
identified work that is breaking new ground. 
John Coplans, as critic and later as curator, 
championed ceramic sculpture in the 1960s in 
California. Allan Stone was the first New York 
dealer to purchase and exhibit in 1965 the clay 
objects coming out of the kilns at the University 
of California, Davis. Beginning in 1974, the Allan 
Frumkin Gallery in New York showed ceramic 
sculpture from the San Francisco Bay Area in 
the context of painting and sculpture, including 
work by painter-sculptors from Northern 
California — William T. Wiley and Robert 
Hudson — and the painter Joan Brown. Along 
with Robert Ameson, these artists share an art 



expression that reflects the "personal myth." 

When there is a period of diversity in art 
expression, attention is directed more closely to 
the individual artist's unique contribution. To 
preserve this individuality, artists generally 
resist categorization or labeling; hence a solo 
exhibition is the most sought-after exposure. In 
the 1970s, sculptors working in clay have become 
nationally recognized artists through a continuing 
presentation of work in solo gallery or museum 
exhibitions and inclusion in painting and 
sculpture exhibitions. 

Kenneth Price, who moved to Taos, New 
Mexico, in 1971, annually has shown new groups 
of work in galleries from Hamburg, Cologne, and 
London to Los Angeles and New York. Through 
these exhibitions the evolution of his cup 
format can be consistently followed. Recent 
Constructivist cup sculptures, in their size, 
complex shapes, and brilliant coloring, maintain a 
scale larger than cup size. These new works are 
prominent even in a group exhibition as diverse 
as the Biennial Exhibitions at the Whitney 
Museum of American Art. During 1972-77 in 
Taos, Price worked on an environmental 
sculpture, inspired by Mexican curio shops, 
entitled Happy's Curios (Fig. 15). Five years in 
the making, it was presented at the Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art in 1978. Happy's Curios, 
another example of Price's consummate genius, 
has been interpreted in almost as many ways as 
there are critics who have written about it. It is 
an environmental installation of cabinets and 
shrines filled with pottery jars and plates 
decorated in Mexican folk-pottery patterns. The 
criticism runs from social comment — homage to 
the bad taste of souvenir ware — to aesthetics — an 
environmental decorative painting. 

In the early 1970s, John Mason abandoned 
fired and glazed Minimalist clay sculpture for 
modular sculpture made of firebricks. Both 
aspects of his work were shown in a retrospective 
at the Pasadena Museum of Modem Art in 1974. 
In 1978 he had the incomparable opportunity to 
design six different installations of firebrick 
pieces for six museum interior spaces in a 




Fig. 15 Installation view, "Ken Price: Happy's Curios," 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1978. 



sequence of exhibitions. The series began at the 
Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York, 
hence its name, the Hudson River Series, 
and continued in floor-related, horizontal 
configurations especially designed for the Des 
Moines Art Center, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 
Washington, D.C., the Minneapolis Institute of 
Arts, the San Francisco Museum of Modern 
Art, and the University Art Museum at the 
University of Texas, Austin. Mason has since 
made several permanent site-related outdoor 
installations of metal elements. 

In 1978, thirty years of work by Peter Voulkos 
was shown in a retrospective exhibition organized 
by the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New 
York. The huge exhibition of 130 vases, plates, 
and sculptures opened at the San Francisco 
Museum of Modern Art and traveled to the 
Contemporary Ails Museum in Houston, the 
Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York, 
and the Milwaukee Art Center. Voulkos' 
resurgent interest in making large clay vases 
now focuses on surface color and on the 
embellishment gained in the filing process. 



Ceramic Sculpture: State of the Art 

From the mid-1960s, group exhibitions were 
assembled to show the surge of activity in clay 
sculpture, its expansion of traditional forms. One 
of the largest exhibitions, which toured the 
United States beginning in 1969, was "Objects: 
USA." This huge collection of crafts was 
assembled for S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc., by Lee 
Nordness. The ceramics in the collection 
reflected the proliferation of ceramic objects as 
well as non-utilitarian ware that was emerging 
from pottery. The 1971 exhibition "Clayworks: 20 
Americans," organized by the Museum of 
Contemporary Crafts, New York, declared 
conclusively that the "object" was the current 
expression in ceramics. 21 That the twenty artists 
in the exhibition came from university campuses 
in California, Washington, Wisconsin, and Ohio 
geographically defined the "grass roots" origin of 
this work. An active community in Seattle, led 
by Fred Bauer, Patti Warashina, and Howard 



33 



Kottler, took Pop Art imagery into a camp 
expression in which stylized forms of Art Deco 
and its dime-store interpretations were produced 
in the most blatant clay bodies and glazes. The 
Midwest exponents were not without their Pop 
Art references, but stated them in folksy, 
narrative themes. 

Concurrent with the 1971 exhibition, Rose 
Slivka's skillful prose in her article "Laugh-In in 
Clay"~ again gave characterization to a new swell 
of expression in ceramics. In effect, she states 
that the artist, rejecting the idealism of his 
heritage, speaks from a humanism of now, 
responding to the immediacy of day-to-day life: 
"artifacts of our time," she calls them, "as if [our 

time] were nostalgia anticipated n23 William 

Lombardo with D. C. Lunch Break, a small 
sculpture of a cow nibbling away at the 
Washington Monument, mounted a campaign to 
replace the American eagle with the cow as the 
number one American symbol. Roger Lang put a 
slice of pie on a plate through a series of visual 
metaphors; similar approaches were taken by 
Kurt Fishback with houses, Jack Earl with 
penguins, and James Melchert with the lower- 
case "a." 

Peter Schjeldahl characterized this type of 
work in a review of another exhibition, "Clay," 
at the Whitney Museum of American Ait, 
Downtown Branch, three years later: 

In general, the mood of this exhibition is 
slangy and informal . It suggests a milieu in 
which artists work largely, if not mainly, for 
the approval of an immediate circle of friends, 
a milieu that encourages extravagant 
peculiarities and semi-private languages. 
Meanwhile, the overall level of sheer craft, of 
skill and resourcefulness with ceramic 
mediums, is extraordinarily high, underlining 
the fact that most of these artists are 
university-trained and -based. 

This is an odd phenomenon — a virtual 
academy of resolutely anti-con veutioual 
artists, linked to one another by their common 
devotion to an ancient, difficult, and until 



recently, seemingly alien or debased art form. 
It couldn't have happened in New York, where 
the achievement of a high style, in whatever 
medium, is the ruling artistic imperative. But 
it did happen in America, and it deserves more 
recognitioyi than it has gotten so far. M 

The consciously "lowbrow" approach and seeming 
disregard for the established hierarchy of 
subject matter and medium in the fine arts that 
this ceramic art displayed denied it critical 
assessment by standards employed in painting 
and sculpture criticism. Undoubtedly, this is 
because the work was often generally presented 
in a crafts context and written about by writers 
who measured its innovation by standards of the 
craft tradition. In that context, work that was 
fresh and timely, innovative in content and form, 
was welcome as a vitalizing element in a 
previously confined tradition. Exhibitions 
organized around the clay medium and the 
variety of ways it is used paid little attention to 
defining the difference between the work as art 
or as craft. If the use of clay in art expression is 
to be fairly assessed, such a distinction must be 
focused on. In a 1980 article Calvin Tomkins 
states an art critic's observations on the crafts 
scene: 

It remai)is to be noted that the crafts movement 
has generated an appalling amount of bad art. 
Clay, for some reason, seems to le>td itself 
particularly to "humorous" treatment — 
anthropomorpliic animals and anecdotal japes 
that niay be wonderfully expert in the technical 
sense but whose effect is often as numbing as a 
row of ceramic novelties in an airport gift 
shop. Arneson, Price, and otic or two others 
skirt this abyss with great style, but their 
followers atid imitators often do not. A 
straining after effect is apparent in much of the 
work in other media, as though the maker, 
uneasily astride the tightrope between craft 
and art, had confused cleverness with 
imagination. There is neither the serenity of 
traditional craftwork nor the authority of an 
artistic statement. 25 



::i 



In the past several years a few group 
exhibitions have dealt with this issue, seriously 
examining the nature of art expression in clay. 
Two differing points of view can be cited in two 
exhibitions. In "Viewpoints: Ceramics 1977," at 
Grossmont College, El Cajon, California, the 
catalogue essay by ceramic artist Erik Gronborg 
speaks from the craft tradition: 

Though trends in ceramics largely follow 
general stylistic developments in art, the 
ceramic works never quite lose the craft 
element: the manipulation of a plastic mass, 
the emphasis on "object," the ready use of color 
as part of the glaze tradition, the small scale 
and preciousness of appearance , and the 
reference in various degrees to the useful 
object, the pot and the plate. These are the 
qualities which make the difference between 
"ceramics" and "sculpture made of clay." 26 

"Nine West Coast Clay Sculptors, 1978" was 
presented at the Everson Museum of Art in 
Syracuse, New York. Margie Hughtos catalogue 
foreword discusses the contribution of West 
Coast artists to ceramic sculpture. She points 
out that on the West Coast, ceramic sculpture 
exists in the milieu of painting and sculpture. 
Addressing Peter Schjeldahls observations, she 
notes: 



relevance to American art of expression in clay 
will not be fully appraised. The craft point of 
view is clearly understood; craft relates to 
materials rather than to intent. Craft implies that 
the perfection of skill in realizing an object is the 
goal of making it, that all aspects — materials, 
image, and design — are utilized to that end. In 
art, the skill utilized to make an object creates 
the realization of an idea, the end to which all the 
other elements are employed. The art is judged 
on its achievement and the import of its idea for 
visual expression. There are works of art in the 
craft tradition as much as there are works of craft 
in fine arts. 

The sculptural statements of the many artists 
working in clay have firmly established their 
significance in the mainstream of painting and 
sculpture. With continued exposure in this 
context, this distinctive work will become more 
widely known and recognized. 

Suzanne Folev 



The blurring of the distinction between art and 
craft is a very important concept to come 
out of the West Coast ceramic movement. What 
this work did was to ignore the traditional 
principles of ceramics in terms of form, 
content and craftsmanship and give new 
thought to clay, and in doiyig so, redefined the 
medium itself. By transforming ceramics into 
a sculptor's medium, and extending the role of 
painting on clay, "Abstract Expressionist" and 
"Funk" ceramics destroyed the standard 
distinction between art and craft. 1 ' 

Until the "craft vs. art" discussion stops being 
an issue — which it legitimately should do — the 



35 



Notes 



1. By teaching summers at Teachers College, Columbia 
University, and at Greenwich House, Voulkos was able to 
return to New York annually from 1960 to 1964. 

2. Rose Slivka, "Peter Voulkos at Bonnier's," Craft 
Horizons, 17 (March/April 1957), p. 47. 

3. Quoted in "Exhibitions: Peter Voulkos," Craft 
Horizons, 19 (January/February 1959), p. 42. 

4. Quoted in Rose Slivka, Peter Voulkos (Boston: New 
York Graphic Society. 1978), p. 117. 

5. Quoted in Conrad Brown, "Peter Voulkos," Craft 
Horizons, 16 (September/October 1956), p. 12. 

6. Jules Langsner, "Art News from Los Angeles," Art 
News, 60 (September 1961), p. 20, a review of the annual 
exhibition "Artists of Los Angeles and Vicinity" Mason's 
work usually prompted these remarks as it was consistently 
included in these exhibitions, often with Michael Frimkess 
and Jerry Rothman. 

7. Lucy R. Lippard, "Kenneth Price," in Robert Irwin/ 
Kenneth Price, exhibition catalogue (Los Angeles: Los 
Angeles County Museum of Art, 1966), unpaginated. 

8. Rose Slivka, "The New Ceramic Presence," Craft 
Horizons, 21 (July/ August 1961), pp. 30-37. 

9. The fifteen artists are Robert Ameson, James 
Crumrine, Hui Ka Kwong, John Mason, Malcolm McClain, 
James Melchert, Harold Myers, Win Ng, Stanley Rosen, 
Jerry Rothman, Jeff Schlanger, Ann Stockton, Henry 
Takemoto, Marcus Villagran, and Peter Voulkos. 

10. See Anita Ventura, "San Francisco: Field Day for 
Sculptors," Arts Magazine, 38 (October 1963), pp. 62-65. 

11. Color in sculpture is discussed in an excellent essay by 
Lucy R. Lippard, "As Painting is to Sculpture: A Changing 
Ratio," in American Sculpture of the Sixties, exhibition 
catalogue (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of 
Art, 1967), pp. 31-34. 

12. See the following articles by John Coplans: "Works in 
Clay by Six Artists," Artforum, 1 (February 1963), p. 46; 
"Sculpture in California," Artforum, 2 (August 1963), pp. 
4-6; "Notes from San Francisco," Art International, 7 
(October 1963), p. 91; "Out of Clay," Art in America, 6 
(December 1963), pp. 40-44; "The Sculpture of Kenneth 
Price," Art International, 8 (March 1964), pp. 33-34; 
"Circle of Styles on the West Coast," Art in America, 52 
(June 1964), pp. 31, 39-41; "Peter Voulkos: Redemption 



36 



through Ceramics," Art News, 64 (Summer 1965), pp. 38 ff.; 
"Abstract Expressionist Ceramics," Artforum, 5 
(November 1966), pp. 34-41. Many of these articles are 
reworded versions of his August 1963 Artforum review. 

13. While the selection of works was based on the 
exhibition's title, "Abstract Expressionist Ceramics," the 
thin-walled cups and jars of Ron Nagle are the least 
"gestural" in form. Los Angeles artists were represented by 
works from important stages in their development, but the 
examples from San Francisco artists were their most recent 
pieces. The catalogue essay recounts the history of the 
activity in the ceramics department at Otis but omits 
mention of Paul Soldner or Jerry Rothman (who are not in 
the exhibition). The exhibition includes two San Francisco 
Bay Area artists who worked with Voulkos in Berkeley — 
James Melchert and Ron Nagle — yet omits Stephen De 
Staebler. It also includes a series of three small abstract 
sculptures by Manuel Neri, shown at the San Francisco Art 
Institute in 1962, totally incidental to his sculpture oeuvre, 
but which have been reproduced widely and included in two 
historical survey exhibitions: "Funk," University Art 
Museum, University of California, Berkeley, 1967, and "A 
Century of Ceramics in the United States," Everson 
Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 1979. 

14. An excellent assessment of the sources in Northern 
California "post-Minimalist" clay sculpture is given in an 
essay by Maija Bismanis, "Historical Sources," in The 
Continental Clay Connection, exhibition catalogue 
(Regina, Saskatchewan: Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, 
1980), pp. 13-17. 

15. Peter Schjeldahl, "Robert Arneson," Art News, 65 
(Summer 1966), p. 10, a review of an exhibition at Allan 
Stone Gallery, New York. 

16. Other artists in the exhibition — all from California — 
were Kurt Fishback, Michael Frimkess, Steven 
Kaltenbach, David Mackenzie, James Melchert, Ron Nagle, 
and Gerald Walburg. See Bruce Breckenridge, "The Object: 
Still Life," Craft Horizons, 25 (September/October 1965), 
pp. 33-34. 



20. See Richard Shaw, "Overglazing on Contemporary 
Ceramics, 1960-1977," in Overglaze Imagery, Cone 019-016, 
exhibition catalogue (Fullerton, Calif.: The Art Gallery, 
California State University, Fullerton, 1977), p. 157. 

21. Artists included in "Clayworks: 20 Americans" were 
Raymond Allen, Robert Arneson, Clayton Bailey, Patti 
Warashina, Jack Earl, Kurt Fishback, Verne Funk, David 
Gilhooly, Dick Hay, Rodger Lang, Marilyn Levine, William 
Lombardo, James Melchert, Richard Shaw, Victor Spinski, 
Bill Stewart, Chris Unterseher, Peter VandenBerge, 
Kenneth Vavrek, and William Warehall. 

22. Rose Slivka, "Laugh-In in Clay," Craft Horizons, 31 
(October 1971), pp. 39-47; 63. 

23. Ibid, p. 39. 

24. Peter Schjeldahl, "The Playful Improvisation of West 
Coast Ceramic Art," New York Times, June 9, 1974, p. 24, 
a review of the exhibition "Clay" at the Whitney Museum of 
American Art, New York, Downtown Branch, 1974. 

25. Calvin Tomkins, "The Art World: Erasing the Line," 
The New Yorker, July 28, 1980, p. 87. 

26. "Viewpoints: Ceramics 1977" was organized by Jerry 
D. Szymanski, Director, Grossmont College Art Gallery, 
and included artists Clayton Bailey, Viola Frey, David 
Furman; Erik Gronborg, Wayne Higby, Howard Kottler, 
Marilyn Levine, Louis Marak, Richard Shaw, and Chris 
Unterseher. Erik Gronborg's essay is reprinted in Garth 
Clark, ed., Ceramic Art: Comment and Review, 1882-1977 
(New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978), pp. 185-92. 

27. Margie Hughto, Nine West Coast Clay Sculptors, 
1978, exhibition catalogue (Syracuse, N. Y: Everson 
Museum of Art, 1978), p. 8. Artists included in the 
exhibition were Robert Arneson, Karen Breschi, Stephen 
De Staebler, David Gilhooly, Marilyn Levine, David 
Middlebrook, Kenneth Price, Richard Shaw, and Peter 
Voulkos. 



17. Peter Selz, Funk, exhibition catalogue (Berkeley: 
University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, 
1967), p. 3. 

18. See James Monte, "'Making It' with Funk," Artforum, 
5 (Summer 1967), pp. 56-59. 

19. Lucy R. Lippard, "Eccentric Abstraction," Art 
International, 10 (November 1966), pp. 28, 34-40. 



37 



Selected Bibliography, 
1961-1981 



This bibliography includes reviews of group exhibitions 
and general books on ceramic sculpture. Reviews of solo 
shows, articles on individual artists, and exhibition 
catalogues are listed in the individual artist sections. 



Rose Slivka, "The New Ceramic Presence," Craft 
Horizons, 21 (July/August 1961), pp. 30-37. 

Gervais Reed, "Exhibitions: World's Fair," Craft Horizons, 
22 (November/December 1962), pp. 40-41. 

John Coplans, "Work in Clay by Six Artists: San Francisco 
Art Institute," Artforum, 1 (February 1963), p. 46. 

Herschel B. Chipp, "The 1963 Paris Biennale," Artforum, 2 
(August 1963), pp. 7-10. 

John Coplans, "Sculpture in California," Artforum, 2 
(August 1963), pp. 3-6. 

"A Portfolio of California Sculptors," Artforum, 2 (August 
1963), pp. 15-59. 

Joseph A. Pugliese, "Casting in the Bay Area," Artforum, 
2 (August 1963), pp. 11-14. 

John Coplans, "Notes from San Francisco," Art 
International, 7 (October 1963), pp. 91-94. 

Anita Ventura, "San Francisco: Field Day for Sculptors," 
Arts Magazine, 38 (October 1963), pp. 62-65. 

John Coplans, "Out of Clay," Art in America, 51 
(December 1963), pp. 4o44. 

Joanna Magloff, "Art News from San Francisco." Art 
News, 62 (January 1964), p. 51. 

Bernard Pyron, "The Tao & Dada of Recent American 
Ceramic Art," Artforum, 2 (March 1964), pp. 41-42. 

John Coplans, "Circle of Styles on the West Coast," Art in 
America, 52 (June 1964), pp. 24-41. 

Douglas McClellan, "Sculpture," Artforum, 2 (Summer 
1964), p. 69. 

John Coplans, "Los Angeles: The Scene," Art News, 64 
(March 1965), pp. 28-29, 56-58. 

Bruce Breckenridge, "The Object: Still Life," Crafi 
Horizons, 25 (September/October 1965), pp. 33-35. 

John Coplans, "Abstract Expressionist Ceramics," 
Arl forum, 5 (November 1966), pp. 34—41. 

Helen Giambruni, "Abstract Expressionist Ceramics at the 
University of California, Irvine," Craft Horizons, 26 

( November December 1966). pp. lb 25. 



38 



Joseph A. Pugliese, "At Museum West: Ceramics from Davis," 
Craft Horizons, 26 (November/December 1966), pp. 27-28. 

Harold Paris, "Sweet Land of Punk," Art in America, 55 
(March/ April 1967), pp. 95-98. 

David Zack, "Funk Art," Art and Artists, 2 (April 1967), 
pp. 37-39. 

James Monte, "'Making It' with Funk," Artforum, 5 
(Summer 1967), pp. 56-59. 

Alan R. Meisel, "Letter from San Francisco," Craft 
Horizons, 27 (September/October 1967), pp. 41-42. 

Dore Ashton, Modern American Sculpture (New York: 
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1968). 

Alan R. Meisel, "Funky Figurines," Time, April 26, 1968, 
p. 76. 

Billy Al Bengston, "Late Fifties at the Ferus, Artforum, 7 
(January 1969), pp. 33-35. 

Erik Gronborg, "The New Generation of Ceramic Artists," 
Craft Horizons, 29 (January/February 1969), pp. 26-29, 
50-51. 

Brenda Richardson, "California Ceramics," Art in 
America, 57 (May/June 1969), pp. 104-^5. 

David Zack, "Califomian Myth-Making," Art and Artists, 4 
(July 1969), pp. 26-31. 

Lee Nordness, Objects: USA (New York: The Viking 
Press, 1970). 

David Zack, "Nut Art in Quake Time," Art News, 69 
(March 1970), pp. 38-41, 77. 

John Ashbery, "The Johnson Collection at Cranbrook," 
Craft Horizons, 30 (March/ April 1970), pp. 34-39, 57^58. 

Janet Malcolm, "On and Off the Avenue: About the House," 
The New Yorker, September 4, 1971, pp. 59-62. 

Rose Slivka, "Laugh-In in Clay," Craft Horizons, 31 
(October 1971), pp. 39-47, 63. 

Victor Cicansky, "Contemporary Ceramics II: Tokyo," 
Artscanada, 29 (Spring 1972), pp. 7(3-77. 

Joseph A. Pugliese, "The Decade: Ceramics," Craft 
Horizons, 33 (February 1973), pp. 4(3—49, 7(3-77. 



Jerome Tarshis, "Letter from San Francisco," Studio 
International, 183 (November 1973), pp. 192-93. 

Peter Plagens, Sunshine Muse (New York: Praeger 
Publishers, 1974). 

Wayne Andersen, American Sculpture in Process, 
193011970 (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975). 

Thomas Albright, "Mythmakers," The Art Gallery 
Magazine, 18 (February 1975), pp. 12-17, 44-45. 

Fred Martin, "San Francisco," Art International, 20 
(March/April 1976), pp. 76-84. 

Sandy Ballatore, "The California Clay Rush," Art in 
America, 64 (July/August 1976), pp. 84-88. 

Julie Hall, Tradition and Change: The New American 
Craftsman (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977). 

Richard Shaw, "Overglazing on Contemporary Ceramics, 
1960-1977," in Overglaze Imagery, Cone 019-016, 
exhibition catalogue (Fullerton, Calif: The Art Gallery, 
California State University, Fullerton, 1977). 

Thomas B. Hess, "For Each Man Kilns the Thing He 
Loves," New York, August 1, 1977, pp. 56-59. 

"Civilizations in Clay" Craft Horizons, 37 (December 1977), 
pp. 28-35. 

Garth Clark, ed., Ceramic Art: Comment and Review, 
1882-1977 (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978). 

Paul S. Donhauser, History of American Ceramics: The 
Studio Potter (Iowa City, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1978). 

Bill Marvel, "A Modem Way with Clay," Horizon, 21 
(September 1978), pp. 41-47. 

La Mar Harrington, Ceramics in the Pacific Northwest 
(Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1979). 

Calvin Tomkins, "The Art World: Erasing the Line," The 
New Yorker, July 28, 1980, pp. 85-87. 

Rose Slivka, "A Panorama of American Ceramics," 
Museum News, 58 (July/ August 1980), pp. 58-64. 

Garth Clark, American Potters: The Work of Twenty Modern 
Masters (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1981). 

Mady Jones, "The Clay People: California's Ceramic 
Artists," San Francisco, 23 (June 1981), pp. 62-71. 



39 



Peter Voulkos 



Peter Voulkos introduced, established, and 
extended alternatives to the uses of clay for 
sculptural expression, liberating a new 
generation of artists from restrictions and 
traditions imposed by ceramic history and 
technique. His presence at Otis Art Institute in 
Los Angeles signaled the beginning of an 
upheaval in contemporary ceramics. Despite 
his long-standing renown and expertise 
as an accomplished potter, he began to feel 
encumbered by the traditional definition of 
pottery. A number of factors, including Voulkos 
admiration for historical and contemporary 
European and Oriental ceramic work, his 
involvement with jazz, his exposure to Abstract 
Expressionist painting, and interaction with like- 
minded colleagues and students, reinforced his 
interest in using clay as an expressive, sculptural 
medium. 

A number of works from the mid-1950s 
consisted of cylindrical forms combined with 
attached slabs of clay. Although these pieces 
approached sculpture, they still remained 
variations of a basic pot concept. By 1958, in such 
works as Flying Black (1958), Voulkos exhibited 
an increased scale and innovative configuration 
that moved out of the realm of pottery. Flying 
Black is composed of numerous wheel-thrown 
forms that have been paddled and compressed to 
obliterate their cylindrical, symmetrical shape, 
and then stacked, attached, and cantilevered 
from a central thrown core. The work is coated 
with black slip to unify the overall form and to 
enhance the weightiness and massiveness of the 
assembled volumes. Sitting Bull (1959) is a 
similar construction of multiple assembled forms 
that display abi*upt joints and angles with no 
smooth, transitional passages, and an awkward, 
asymmetrical profile. Although these works are 
composed of a number of traditional, thrown-pot 
forms, the assembled work makes no reference to 
function and exists totally as a sculptural object. 
Little Big Horn (1959) continues the exploration 
of sculptural assemblages of bulging, jutting, and 
angled volumes, but with increased surface 
markings, scratchings, and pinching that 



accentuate the edges of joined planes and forms. 
A subsequent group shifts away from the 
monolithic presence of closed bulbous forms, but 
retains the structural principle of stacked, joined 
and balanced units. Camelback Mountain (1959), 
Sevillanas (1959), and Gal las Rock (1959-61) 
continue to use paddled, wheel-thrown cylinders 
and slabs, but they have been gouged, ripped, 
and sliced open, revealing internal space, wall 
thickness, and open areas that cut through the 
sculptural mass. These works exhibit an 
increased angularity and complexity of form that 
result in a highly active surface of light and 
shadow, space and mass. 

In 1959, Voulkos moved to Berkeley, following 
his appointment as assistant professor of 
ceramics at the University of California. It was 
here that he began a series of w r orks, including 
Cross (1959), Red River (1960), and USA U 
(1960), that are characterized by their display of 
brightly painted and glazed areas. Voulkos' use of 
glazes that maintain their brilliant color at a low- 
temperature firing was a somewhat radical 
occurrence in a ceramic tradition that relegated 
low-fire glazes in bright colors to the realm of 
hobby. In addition, the use of epoxy paints on 
fired ceramic pieces, such as the brilliant orange 
areas on USA £1, was a new but logical and 
legitimate alternative to glazing. Voulkos 
employed color to establish tensions between the 
assembled forms and the applied coloration, 
wanting the color intensity and expressiveness to 
correspond to the structure of the object. As 
seen in Red R iver, the color is not used as 
decoration or to delineate the angles and planes 
of the work. By using a low 7 -fire glaze — rather 
than more unpredictable final coloration from 
high-fire glazes — Voulkos was ensured of 
maintaining the vivid red needed to accentuate 
and reinforce the jagged, cutting, and scratched 
surface detail of the entire form. 

Voulkos move to Berkeley also coincided with 
the beginning of his work in bronze, which he 
approached with the same energy, technical 
expertise, and productivity that characterized his 
work in clay. Although he continued to produce 



[0 




Little Big Horn, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 62 x 40 x 40" (157.5 x 101.6 x 101.6 cm) 
The Oakland Museum. California; Gift of The Art Guild of 
the Oakland Museum Association 



41 



ceramic pieces — completing hundreds of 
sculptural vessels and large-scale plates — bronze 
offered new technical and sculptural challenges, 
and occupied his energies for a number of years. 
A group of recent ceramic works return to a 
more traditional bottle or vessel format. The 
scale and structure of these works, such as 
Anada (1968), retain associations with sculptural 
rather than functional concerns. Voulkos uses the 
form for explorations of surface incident, 
coloration, and manipulation in a way that does 
not alter the vessel-like composition of the piece. 
Untitled (1980) and Untitled (1981) display 
Voulkos' experimentation with the effects of a 
wood-burning kiln, rather than the previously 
used gas kiln. The wood kiln reintroduces aspects 
of the unpredictability of surface texture and 
coloration, extending the concept of the work 
beyond the programmed technical aspects of 
ceramics. An unglazed piece fired in a kiln of this 
type achieves a variegated richness in coloration, 
shading, highlights, and is subject to accidents 
that result from the chemical activity of ash and 
fire on the clay body in the kiln. Untitled (1981) 
typifies a number of recent works that make 
direct reference to vessel forms. It is composed of 
stacked cylinders that fonn the irregular foot, 
body, and neck of a bottle shape. Its utilitarian 
associations do not go beyond this configuration, 
however, and attention is directed to cuts, rips, 
ridges, and incised drawing that actively and 
forcefully violate the surface and walls, and 
negate any implied functionality. It is this 
constant, inquisitive exploration and experi- 
mentation in technique, materials, and 
forms that continues to direct Voulkos' ongoing 
development of the sculptural potential of ceramic 
materials. 



12 









. ^^^ 





Flying Black, 1958 

Glazed stoneware, 39% x 45 x 24" (99.7 x 114.3 x 61 cm) 

The Weisman Family Collection 



43 



Peter Voulkos 

Born in Bozeman, Montana, 1924 

Studied at Montana State University, Bozeman (B.S., 1951); 
California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland (M.F.A., 1952) 
Taught at the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana 
(1952-55); Black Mountain College, Asheville, North 
Carolina (1953); Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles (1954-59); 
University of Montana, Missoula (1958-59); University of 
California, Berkeley (1959-present); Teachers College, 
Columbia University, New York (1960-64) 
Lives in Oakland 



1980 Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri 
Okun-Thomas Gallery, St. Louis 

1981 Charles Cowles Gallery, New York 
Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston 



Selected Group Exhibitions 

1952 M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 
"Fifth Annual Exhibition of the Association of San 
Francisco Potters." Exhibition brochure 



Selected Solo Exhibitions 

1954 Gallery at American House, New York 
Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles 

1956 Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles 

1957 Bonnier's, Inc., New York 

1958 Pasadena Art Museum, California 

1959 Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles, "Peter Voulkos: 
Sculpture, Painting, Ceramics." Exhibition catalogue, 
text by Thomas W. Leavitt 

1960 Penthouse Gallery, The Museum of Modem Art, 
New York, "Sculpture and Paintings by Peter Voulkos: New 
Talent in the Penthouse." Exhibition brochure, text by 
Peter Selz 

1961 Primus-Stuart Galleries, Los Angeles 

1965 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Peter 
Voulkos: Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Maurice 
Tuchman 

1967 David Stuart Gallery, Los Angeles 

1968 Quay Gallery, San Francisco 

1972 San Francisco Museum of Art, "Peter Voulkos: 
Bronze Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Gerald 
Nordland 

1974 Quay Gallery, San Francisco 

1975 Kemper Gallery, Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri 

1977 Contemporary Craft Association, Portland, Oregon 

1978 Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco 
Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 

Crafts Council, New York, "Peter Voulkos Retrospective, 
1947-1977" (traveled to Contemporary Arts Museum, 
Houston; Milwaukee Art Center; San Francisco Museum of 
Modern Art). Exhibition brochure 

1979 Exhibit A, Chicago 
Foster/White Gallery, Seattle 

Hills Gallery. Santa Fe, New Mexico 



1955 Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France, 
Festival International de la Ceramique" 



4 Premier 



1957 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "Variations in Media" 

1958 United States Pavilion, Brussels World's Fair 

1959 Mus6e d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, "Premiere 
Biennale de Paris." Exhibition catalogue 

Musee des Beaux-Arts, Ostend, Belgium, "La 
Ceramique Contemporaine" 

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, 
"Third Pacific Coast Biennial: An Exhibition of Sculpture 
and Drawings by Artists of California, Oregon and 
Washington" (traveled to Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, 
California; Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles; Portland 
Art Museum, Oregon; Henry Ail Gallery, University of 
Washington, Seattle; M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, 
San Francisco). Exhibition catalogue, text by Hilton 
Kramer. 

1962 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "Forms from the Earth: 1,000 
Years of Pottery in America." Exhibition catalogue 

San Francisco Art Institute, "Work in Clay by Six 
Artists" 

San Francisco Museum of Art, "Molten Image: 7 
Sculptors." Exhibition catalogue 

Seattle World's Fair, "Adventures in Art." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Gervais Reed 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
"Fifty California Artists" (traveled to Walker Art Center, 
Minneapolis; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New 
York; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa). Exhibition catalogue, 
texts by Lloyd Goodrich and George D. Culler 

1963 London City Council, Battersea Park, "Sculpture in 
the Open Air." Exhibition catalogue, text by Herbert Read 

Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "Creative Casting." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Paul J. Smith 

The Oakland Museum, California (at Kaiser Center), 
"California Sculpture" 

19(54 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. "1964 
Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture." 
Exhibition catalogue 




Sitting Bull, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 69 x 37 x 37" (175.3 x 94 x 94 cm) 

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; Bequest of 

Hans G. M. De Schulthess 



1.", 




Sevillanas, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 56% x 28 x 16%" (144.1 x 71.1 x 42.9 cm) 
San Francisco Museum of Modem Art: Albert M. Bender 
Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund Purchase 



li ; 



1966 Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 
"Abstract Expressionist Ceramics" (traveled to San 
Francisco Museum of Art). Exhibition catalogue, text by 
John Coplans 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
"Contemporary American Sculpture: Selection I." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by John I. H. Baur 

1967 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "American 
Sculpture of the Sixties" (traveled to Philadelphia Museum 
of Art). Exhibition catalogue, text by Maurice Tuchman 

University Art Museum, University of California, 
Berkeley, "Funk." Exhibition catalogue, text by Peter Selz 

1969 National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Objects: USA— The 
Johnson Collection of Contemporary Crafts" (traveled 
nationally). Exhibition catalogue, text by Lee Nordness 

Pasadena Art Museum, California, "West Coast, 
1945-1969" (traveled to City Art Museum of St. Louis; Art 
Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Port Worth Art Center). 
Exhibition catalogue, text by John Coplans 

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland, "Kompas 4: 
West Coast USA." Exhibition catalogue, text by Jan 
Leering 

1970 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1970 
Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1971 The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, 
"Contemporary Ceramic Art: Canada, USA, Mexico and 
Japan" (traveled to National Museum of Modern Art, 
Tokyo). Exhibition catalogue, text by Kenji Suzuki 

1972 San Francisco Museum of Art, "A Decade of 
Ceramic Art, 1962-1972: From the Collection of Professor 
and Mrs. R. Joseph Monsen." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Suzanne Foley 

1974 Lang Art Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, 
California, "The Fred and Mary Marer Collection: 30th 
Annual Ceramics Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue, texts 
by Jim Melchert and Paul Soldner 

The Oakland Museum, California, "Public Sculpture/ 
Urban Environment." Exhibition catalogue, text by George 
Neubert 

San Francisco Art Institute, "Ceramic Sculpture." 
Exhibition brochure, text by Phil Linhares 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Downtown Branch, "Clay." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Richard Marshall 

1975 Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C., "Clay USA." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Daniel Fendrick 

National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Sculpture: American 
Directions, 1945-1975." Exhibition catalogue 

1976 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "Painting 
and Sculpture in California: The Modem Era" (traveled to 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C.). Exhibition catalogue, text by Henry T. 
Hopkins 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "200 
Years of American Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, texts 
by Tom Armstrong et al. 



1977 William Hayes Ackland Art Center, University of 
North Carolina, Chapel Hill, "Contemporary Ceramic 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Louise Hobbs 

Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, 
"Foundations in Clay." Exhibition catalogue, texts by 
Robert Smith and John Coplans 

1978 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 
"Nine West Coast Clay Sculptors, 1978" (traveled to The 
Arts and Crafts Center of Pittsburgh). Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by Margie Hughto and Judy S. Schwartz 

1979 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, "A 
Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978" 
(traveled to Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of 
Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.). 
Exhibition catalogue, texts by Garth Clark and Margie 
Hughto 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, "West Coast 
Ceramics." Exhibition catalogue, text by Rose Slivka 

1980 Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of 
Saskatchewan, Regina, "The Continental Clay Connection." 
Exhibition catalogue 

San Diego Museum of Art, California, "Sculpture in 
California, 1975-1980." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Richard Armstrong 

1981 Exhibit A, Chicago, "Works in 2D: Painting, 
Drawing, Collage" 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Art in Los 
Angeles: Seventeen Artists in the Sixties." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Maurice Tuchman 

University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, 
"Centering on Contemporary Clay: American Ceramics 
from the Joan Mannheimer Collection." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Jim Melchert 



Selected Articles and Reviews 

Conrad Brown, "Peter Voulkos," Craft Horizons, 16 

(September/October 1956), pp. 12-18. 
Rose Slivka, "Peter Voulkos at Bonnier's," Craft Horizons, 

17 (March/ April 1957), p. 47. 
"Exhibitions: Peter Voulkos," Craft Horizons, 19 (January/ 

February 1959), p. 42. 
Jules Langsner, "Art News from Los Angeles," Art News, 

57 (February 1959), p. 49. 
"New Talent, 1959: Sculpture," Art in America, 47 (Spring 

1959), pp. 36-37. 
Hubert Crehan, "Peter Voulkos," Art News, 59 (March 

1960), p. 19. 
Dore Ashton, "Exhibitions: Peter Voulkos," Craft 

Horizons, 20 (March/ April 1960), p. 42. 
Dore Ashton, "Art," Arts and Architecture, April 1960, pp. 

7-8. 
Jules Langsner, "Art News from Los Angeles," Art News, 

60 (January 1962), p. 52. 
Jules Langsner, "Exhibitions: Peter Voulkos," Craft 

Horizons, 22 (January/February 1962), pp. 39—40. 
Joanna Magloff, "Peter Voulkos," in "A Portfolio of 

California Sculptors," Artforum, 2 (August 1963), p. 

29. 
"The Clay Movement," Time, August 23, 1963, p. 50. 



47 



Nancy Manner, "Peter Voulkos," Artforum, 3 (June 1965), 

pp. 9-11. 
John Coplans, "Voulkos: Redemption through Ceramics," 

Art News, 64 (Summer 1965), pp. 38-39, 64-65. 
Arthur Secunda, "Peter Voulkos," Craft Horizons, 25 

(July/August 1965), pp. 35-36. 
Paul Soldner, "Ceramics West Coast," Craft Horizons, 26 

(June 1966), pp. 25-28, 97. 
Jim Melchert, "Peter Voulkos: A Return to Pottery," Craft 

Horizons, 28 (September/October 1968), pp. 20-21. 
Rose Slivka, "The New Clay Drawings of Peter Voulkos," 

Craft Horizons, 34 (October 1974), pp. 30-31. 
Charles North, "New York: Voulkos and Tchakalian at 

Braunstein/Quay," Art in America, 64 (January/ 

February 1976), p. 99. 
Ann-Sargent Wooster, "New York: Peter Voulkos," 

Artforum,, 14 (February 1976), p. 60. 
Joanne A. Dickson, "Peter Voulkos in Conversation with 

Joanne A. Dickson," Visual Dialog, 2 (June/July/ 

August 1977), pp. 12-16. 
Rose Slivka, Peter Voulkos: A Dialogue with Clay 

(Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1978). 
Alfred Frankenstein, "Voulkos Gave Creative Precedence to 

Clay," San Francisco Sunday Examiner & 

Chronicle, This World Magazine, February 26, 1978, 

p. .58. 
Rose Slivka, "Erasing the Line Separating the Arts from 

Crafts," Smithsonian, 8 (March 1978), pp. 86-92. 
Elaine Levin, "Peter Voulkos: A Retrospective, 1948-1978," 

Artweek, March 18, 1978, p. 1. 
Thomas Albright, "San Francisco: Convulsions of Clay," Art 

News, 77 (April 1978), pp. 114-18. 
Elaine Levin, "Peter Voulkos," Ceramics Monthly, 26 

(June 1978), pp. 59-68. 
Thomas Albright, "Peter Voulkos, What Do You Call 

Yourself?" Art News, 77 (October 1978), pp. 118-24. 
Hal Fischer, "The Art of Peter Voulkos," Artforum, 17 

(November 1978), pp. 41-47. 
J Kaneko, "Reflections on the Voulkos Retrospective," 

Craft Horizons, 39 (February 1979), pp. 30-32. 
Sylvia Brown, "Peter Voulkos: The Clay's the Thing," Art 

in America, 67 (March/April 1979), pp. 106-9. 
Robert Taylor, "Voulkos Clay Explodes from Craft into 

Art," Boston Sunday Globe, May 17, 1981, p. A3. 



I- 




Camelback Mountain, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 45Ki x 19M- x 20Ki" (114.9 x 49.5 x 51.4 cm) 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. 
Stephen D. Paine 



49 




Gallas Hock, 1959-61 

Glazed stoneware, 84 x 37 x 40" (213.4 x 94 x 101.6 cm) 

Franklin I). Murphy Sculpture Garden, University of 
California, Los Angeles; (lift of.Iulianne Kemper 



50 




Red River, 1960 

Glazed stoneware, 37 x 12Ms x UVz (94 x 31.8 x 36.8 cm) 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of the 
Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc. 66.42 



51 




USA Ul, 1960 

Glazed stoneware with epoxy paint, 34 x 11% x 1(M" 

(86.5 x 29.8 x 26.7 cm) 

The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. D.C.; Gift of 

Wayne Parrish 



52 




I 



^p" 



Anada, 1968 

Glazed stoneware, 34% x 11% x IIM2" (87.3 x 29.8 x 29.2 cm) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Gift of Mrs. Edgar 

Sinton 



53 




Untitled, lilSO 

Stoneware, 48 x 18/2 x 19" (121.9 x 47 x 48.3 cm) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Pappajohn 



54 




Untitled, 1981 

Stoneware, 34V 2 x 16 x 16" (90.2 x 40.6 x 40.6 cm) 

Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston 



55 



John Mason 



In 1957 John Mason and Peter Voulkos began to 
share a studio in Los Angeles, and built a large 
kiln, enabling them to increase the scale of their 
work. Until this time, Masons ceramic vessels 
were thrown on the potter's wheel, and although 
they became increasingly sculptural, they 
retained strong associations with pottery. Mason 
then began a series of Vertical Sculptures that 
sought to explore the technical and sculptural 
possibilities of clay. There existed few precedents 
for this exploration — Mason and Voulkos were 
groping to develop a vocabulary of ceramic 
sculpture, knowing only that it was imperative 
that what resulted not be a pot. Vertical 
Sculpture — Spear Form (1957) was Mason's first 
large-scale pieces — a two-sided totemic upright 
with eccentrically angled edges and hard-edged 
glazed areas that loosely echoed the outside 
form. 

The Vertical Sculptures of 1961-62 reflect 
Mason's involvement with the material 
characteristics of clay — plasticity, malleability, 
coloration — and with testing its possibilities in 
form and structure. These pieces exhibit the 
rawness, spontaneity, and expressiveness of clay, 
and give the impression of having been formed by 
natural forces. The formal and technical aspects 
of balance, proportion, composition, and 
stability — although purposefully planned and 
controlled — are subsumed by the very presence 
of the material itself. The pieces exhibit strong 
affinities with the Abstract Expressionist mode 
dominant at that time, but also recall iconic 
primitive art as well as the topography and 
coloration of the western United States landscape 
where Mason has lived. 

Desert Cross (1963) and Cross Form— White 
(1964) begin to move away from a completely 
organic fonn toward a tightened geometric 
configuration. The naturalness, fluidity, and 
layered assembly of the clay remain highly 
visible, while the increased scale, mass, and 
volume — possible because of Mason's advanced 
technical facility — become more pronounced. 
I 'i/t itled (1964) and Dark Monolith with 
Opening I 1965) evoke an imposing primitivistic 



presence and elicit ritualistic associations. Both 
works contain a centered aperture that makes 
reference to the openings in traditional vessel 
forms, but which is now integrated into the 
overall form in a non-functional capacity. These 
works foretell the uniformity and consistency of 
surface, and the singularity of form, that 
characterize the subsequent group of Geometric 
Forms (1966). This group exhibits Mason's 
conscious desire to minimize the impact of and 
response to the ceramic material by emphasizing 
the dominance of the geometric form — rectangle, 
cross, or X. The seductive tactility of the ceramic 
material and the awareness of its manipulation 
are lessened, so that the sculptural qualities of 
form and surface predominate. The austerity and 
severity of these minimal shapes, however, are 
counterbalanced by the depth and richness of the 
glazed surface color and texture. Geometric 
Form — Red X (1966), for instance, shows the 
results of two glaze firings — a deep red glaze that 
reveals runs and rivulets of the darker 
underglaze. 

The Firebrick Sculptures, begun in the early 
1970s, reveal a shift in Masons work away from 
an involvement with materials and technique 
toward a concern with the conceptualization and 
systemization of a piece that is removed from 
its actual realization. While maintaining an 
association with the ceramic tradition — firebricks 
are made of ceramic material and are used for the 
construction of kilns — their neutral color and 
standardized fonn make it possible to conceive of 
and execute large-scale geometric configurations 
of stacked bricks, such as Hudson River Series 
VIII (1978), in a variety of mathematically plotted 
arrangements. These works cannot be perceived 
as single objects, and move into areas of spatial 
experience, visual perception and illusion, and 
architectural site-oriented installations. It is such 
systematized progression and variation, spatial 
manipulation and exploration — in both ceramic 
and non-ceramic materials — that continue to 
direct Masons work. 



56 



Vertical Sculpture — Spear Form, 1957 
Glazed stoneware, 67 x 28 x 12" (170.9 x 71.1 x 30.5 cm) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 
Gallery, San Francisco 



- T ' 



' ■■)- 

■ 

















T ; 



57 



John Mason 

Born in Madrid, Nebraska, 1927 

Studied at Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles (1949-51, 1954); 

Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles (1951-54) 

Taught at Pomona College, Claremont, California (1960-67); 

University of California, Berkeley (1960, 1964-65); Otis Art 

Institute, Los Angeles (1961); University of California, 

Irvine (1967-72); Hunter College, New York (1974-present) 

Lives in New York 



Selected Solo Exhibitions 

1957 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles 

1959 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles 

1960 Pasadena Art Museum, California 

1961 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles 

1963 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles 

1966 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "John Mason: 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by John Coplans 

1974 Pasadena Museum of Modem Art, California, "John 
Mason: Ceramic Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Barbara Haskell 

1976 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1978 The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York, 
"John Mason: Installations from the Hudson River Series" 
(traveled to Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; The Corcoran 
Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Minneapolis 
Institute of Arts; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; 
University Art Museum, University of Texas, Austin). 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Rosalind Krauss 

1979 University of Nevada, Reno, "John Mason: The 
Peavine Installation, 1979." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Michael Auping 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

1957 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, "John Altoon, John 
Mason, Jerry Rothman, Paul Soldner" 

1958 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "Young Americans" 

1959 The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, 
"Third Pacific Coast Biennial: An Exhibition of Sculpture 
and Drawings by Artists of California, Oregon and 
Washington" (traveled to Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, 

( 'alifomia; Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles; Portland 
Art Museum, Oregon; Henry Art Gallery, University of 
Washington, Seattle; M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, 
San Francisco). Exhibition catalogue, text by Hilton 
Kramer 



1960 Second International Congress of Contemporary 
Ceramics, Ostend, Belgium, "Moderne Amerikansk 
Keramic" (traveled to Royal Copenhagen Porcelain 
Manufactory, Denmark). Exhibition catalogue 

1961 University Galleries, University of Southern 
California, Los Angeles, "Los Angeles Area Sculptors" 

1962 The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, 
"Pacific Coast Invitational" (traveled to Fine Arts Gallery, 
San Diego, California; Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles; 
San Francisco Museum of Art; Seattle Art Museum; 
Portland Art Museum, Oregon X Exhibition catalogue 

1962 Seattle World's Fair, "Adventures in Art." Exhibition 
catalogue by Gervais Reed 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
"Fifty California Artists" (traveled to Walker Art Center, 
Minneapolis; Albright- Knox Ail Gallery, Buffalo, New 
York; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa). Exhibition catalogue, 
texts by Lloyd Goodrich and George D. Culler 

1963 The Oakland Museum, California (at Kaiser Center), 
"California Sculpture" 

1964 The Art Institute of Chicago, "67th Annual 
American Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1964 
Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1966 Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 
"Abstract Expressionist Ceramics" (traveled to San 
Francisco Museum of Art). Exhibition catalogue, text by 
John Coplans 

1968 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Late Fifties at 
the Ferus." Exhibition catalogue, text by James Monte 

1969 National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Objects: USA— The 
Johnson Collection of Contemporary Crafts" (traveled 
nationally). Exhibition catalogue, text by Lee Nordness 

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland, "Kompas 4: 
West Coast USA." Exhibition catalogue, text by Jan 
Leering 

Pasadena Art Museum, California, "West Coast, 
1945-1969" (traveled to City Art Museum of St. Louis; Art 
Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Fort Worth Art Center). 
Exhibition catalogue, text by John Coplans 

1971 The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, 
"Contemporary Ceramic Art: Canada, USA, Mexico and 
Japan" (traveled to National Museum of Modern Art, 
Tokyo). Exhibition catalogue, text by Kenji Suzuki 

1972 San Francisco Museum of Art, "A Decade of 
Ceramic Art, 1962-1972: From the Collection of Professor 
and Mrs. R. Joseph Monsen." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Suzanne Foley 



58 




Vertical Edge Sculpture, 1961 

Glazed stoneware, 64 x 16 x 9" (162.6 x 40.6 x 22.9 cm) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 
Gallery, San Francisco 



59 







\ 



Vertical Sculpture, 1962 

Glazed stoneware, 64 x 16 x 12" (162.5 x 40.6 x 30.5 cm) 

Private collection 



60 



1973 Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, "Sculpture 
Off the Pedestal." Exhibition catalogue, text by Barbara 
Rose 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1973 
Biennial Exhibition: Contemporary American Art." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1974 Lang Art Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, 
California, "The Fred and Mary Marer Collection: 30th 
Annual Ceramics Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue, texts 
by Jim Melchert and Paul Soldner 

The Oakland Museum, California, "Public Sculpture' 
Urban Environment." Exhibition catalogue, text by George 
Neubert 

1976 Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, 
California, "The Last Time I Saw Ferus." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Betty Tumbull 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "Painting 
and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era" (traveled to 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C.). Exhibition catalogue, text by Henry T. 
Hopkins 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "200 
Years of American Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, texts 
by Tom Armstrong et al. 

1977 Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, 
"Foundations in Clay." Exhibition catalogue, texts by 
Robert Smith and John Coplans 

1979 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, "A 
Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978" 
(traveled to Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of 
Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.). 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Garth Clark and Margie 
Hughto 



Jules Langsner, "Los Angeles Letter," A rt International, 5 

(October 1961), pp. 86-87. 
"New Talent USA: Crafts," Art in America, 49, no. 1 (1961), 

pp. 58-61. 
Paul LaPorte, "John Mason, Ceramic Sculptor," Artforum, 

1 (February 1963), pp. 34-35. 
Anita Ventura, "The Prospect Over the Bay," Arts 

Magazine, 37 (May/June 1963), pp. 19-20. 
Constance Perkins, "John Mason: Fems Gallery," 

Artforum, 1 (June 1963), pp. 14-15. 
Jules Langsner, "Los Angeles," Art Neivs, 65 (January 

1967), p. 26. 
Helen Giambruni, "Exhibitions: John Mason," Craft 

Horizons, 27 (January/February 1967), pp. 38-40. 
Judith Wechsler, "Los Angeles: John Mason," Artforum, 5 

(February 1967), p. 65. 
Elena Karina Canavier, "John Mason Retrospective," 

Art-week, June 1, 1974, pp. 1, 20. 
Bernard Kester, "Exhibitions: Los Angeles," Craft 

Horizons, 34 (August 1974), p. 32. 
Kenneth Garber, "Pasadena," Art in A)nerica, 62 

(November/December 1974), pp. 125-26. 
Joanne A. Dickson, "John Mason at the Hudson River 

Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern 

Art," Art in America, 67 (January/February 1979), pp. 

145-46. 
Rosalind Krauss, "John Mason and Post-Modemist 

Sculpture: New Experiences, New Words," Art in 

America, 67 (May/June 1979), pp. 120-27. 
Jeff Kelley, "John Mason," Arts Magazine, 55 (September 

1980X p. 14. 



1980 Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of 
Saskatchewan, Regina, "The Continental Clay Connection; 
Exhibition catalogue 

1981 University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, 
"Centering on Contemporary Clay: American Ceramics 
from the Joan Mannheimer Collection." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Jim Melchert 



Selected Articles and Reviews 

J. Bennet Olson, "Exhibitions: Soldner, Mason, Rothman," 
Craft Horizons, 17 (September/October 1957), p. 41. 

Donald Goodall, "Exhibitions: John Mason," Craft 
Horizons, 19 (September/October 1959), p. 41. 

Gerald Nordland, "John Mason," Craft Hoyizons, 20 (May/ 
June 1960), pp. 28-33. 

Paul LaPorte, "Letter from Los Angeles," Craft Horizons, 

20 (July/ August 1960), pp. 43-44. 

Jules Langsner, "Los Angeles Letter," Art International, 5 

(April 1961), p. 44. 
Jules Langsner, "Ail News from Los Angeles," Art News, 

60 (Summer 1961), p. 66. 
Paul LaPorte, "Letter from Los Angeles," Craft Horizons, 

21 (July/ August 1961), p. 43. 



61 




Desert Cross, 1963 

Glazed stoneware, 54 x 43% x 15" (137.2 x 110.5 x 38.1 cm) 

Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno 



62 




Cross Form, 1963 

Glazed stoneware, 64 x 52 x 38" (162.6 x 132.1 x 96.6 cm) 

The Art Institute of Chicago; Gift of the Ford Foundation 



63 




Untitled, 1964 

Glazed stoneware, 66 x 6SV2 x 17" (167.6 x 161.3 x 43.2 cm) 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Gift of the 
Women's Board 



64 




Cross Form — White, 1964 

Glazed stoneware, 67 x 66 x 21" (170.1 x 167.6 x 53.3 cm) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 
Gallery, San Francisco 



65 



' H 


J 

1 


J 


— ■ . 




r ~~ 


i 

i 


| 




Dark Monolith with Opening, 1965 
Glazed stoneware, 65 x 62 x 24" (165.1 x 157.5 x 61 cm) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Max Hutchinson Gallery, 
New York 



66 




Geometric Form — Dark, 1966 

Glazed stoneware, 59 x 43 x 25" (149.9 x 109.2 x 63.5 cm) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. C. David Robinson 



67 



**iJla 



~**6W 




(Iciniictric Form— Red X, 1966 

Glazed stoneware, 58M> x 59^2 x 17" (148.5 x 151.1 x 43.2 cm) 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 



68 




Hudson River Series VIII, 1978 

Firebrick installation at the San Francisco Museum of 

Modern Art 

Collection of the artist 



(if i 



Kenneth Price 



Kenneth Price's works of the late 1950s exhibit a 
freeness and expressiveness of form that reflect 
the impact of his work with Peter Voulkos at Otis 
Art Institute, and a freshness and brilliance in 
color application and decoration, combined with 
expert technical execution, that result from his 
studies in the science of clays and glazes at the 
New York State College of Ceramics, in Alfred. 
Untitled (1959) marks Price's de-emphasis of the 
functional aspects of a form to focus on its 
sculptural potential. A container with a wide, flat 
bottom tapers to a small opening capped by a 
removable lid. The focus of the piece, however, is 
the volumetric presence of the form and the 
attention given to the surface, glazed with 
bright, sharp green and yellow areas crusted 
with blisters and craters — one of which seems to 
have burst open to reveal a dark, mysterious 
interior. Silver (1961) further obfuscates the 
reference to a vessel. Although the work sits on a 
flat, wide base, the top opening and lid are 
eliminated, and the top rounded to a smooth 
dome shape, so that the focus of the piece shifts 
to the enlarged orifice on the side, from which 
protrude menacing finger-like tendrils. Price has 
also painted the ceramic with acrylic paint and 
automobile lacquer, thus not only avoiding the 
limitations and unpredictability of glazes, but also 
reinforcing the overall consistency of form, 
surface, and color, and masking the physical 
characteristics of the ceramic material. 

A series of egg shapes followed that rejected 
the reference to the foot of a pot by completely 
rounding the form to an ovoid that balances on 
one point of the surface. These pieces strongly 
reflect Price's interest in and reference to zoology, 
and concurrently recall the surreal images and 
biomoiphic forms of Arp, Mir6, and Brancusi. 
S. L. Green (1963), like all of the egg pieces, 
is brightly painted in intense, vivid, and 
contrasting colors of matte and glossy finishes, 
often with outlined amoeboid shapes. In keeping 
with the biomoiphic references of the form, the 
coloration also recalls the strong colors found in 
exotic birds, sea life, insects, and plant forms. 
These are tight, compacted, self-contained and 



enigmatic objects that reveal Price's facility at 
juxtaposing contrasting features — organic form 
against severely geometrized, constructed 
wooden bases; smooth, reflective surfaces against 
grainy, matte finishes; hard outer shell against 
soft, undulating interior tendrils. 

Price next completed a group of "specimens," 
such as Green and Cream (1967), in which he 
continued to explore small, organic forms painted 
with layers of glossy industrial paints and 
accented with indented, wormy markings and 
protruding knobs. These pieces — reminiscent of 
laboratory specimens and rudimentary life 
forms — are often displayed on specially designed 
and carefully crafted supports and cases, such as 
that in Specimen B1520.06 (1964X 

In the late 1960s, Price returned to the cup 
form. Like the "eggs" and "specimens," these 
cups exhibit images derived from biology and 
zoology, often animals with hard outer shells that 
protect soft, organic insides. The cups are thin- 
walled, brightly glazed cylinders resting on a 
wide, splayed foot that supports incongruously 
placed animals (Blind Sea Turtle Cup, 1968, and 
Snail Cup, 1968), or the foot itself takes on 
surreal characteristics (Wart Cup, 1969, and 
Oyster Bay Rock Cup, 1967). Although the cups 
are comfortable in the hand and potentially 
usable, Price is primarily dealing with form 
rather than function. 

Following his move from Los Angeles to New 
Mexico in 1971, Price's cups began to suggest 
mineralogical sources. In Crystal Cup (1972) 
and Slate Cup (1972), configurations of natural 
rock formations that reflect various types of 
aggregation and extrusion offered Price angles, 
edges, and planes to consider for their sculptural 
and coloristic potential. The handle, foot, lip, 
and cup became increasingly abstracted and 
geometrized, so that these objects make a more 
direct reference to decorative and architectural 
styles than to utilitarian containers. Each plane 
and facet of Untitled Cup (1974) — some of which 
have separated from the main configuration 
and become satellite elements — is glazed in 
colors of differing intensity, transparency, and 



Tii 






Untitled, 1959 

Glazed earthenware, 2m x 20 x 20" (54.6 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm) 

Collection of Billy Al Bengston 



71 



reflectiveness. By thus creating spatial, perspec- 

tival, and optical tensions, Price establishes 

the cup as a sculptural container of form and color. 

Price continued his investigations of the 
sculptural possibilities of glazed geometric 
volumes in the larger works done since the late 
1970s. Israeli Sculpture (1979) and Tail Piece 
(1980) exhibit an increased complexity in 
configuration and coloration, and make no 
reference to functional pottery. The cutout 
openings are an integral part of the overall design 
considerations and have no functional purpose 
other than serving as a vent for the enclosed 
space of the object during the firing process. De 
Chirico's Bathhouse (1980) enhances the surreal 
overtones in Price's work, while exhibiting the 
interrelationship and interaction established 
between colors and between the two separate 
elements that comprise the piece. As in all of 
Price's geometric pieces, the edges of the form 
are not glazed, in order to keep the planes of 
color sharp, clear, and defined. These unglazed, 
white lines create a three-dimensional drawing in 
space that relates to the preparatory sketches 
Price uses to resolve volumetric configurations 
and color combinations. 

After establishing a new studio in Taos, and 
concurrently working on the series of geometric, 
architectural cups, Price undertook the monu- 
mental Happy's Curios, an environmental 
installation that resembles a curio shop of 
decorated ceramic wares. It is a work of art 
about the art of pottery — it comments on the 
artistic, social, and economic aspects of pottery, 
and on its decoration, production, and 
distribution. The work is composed of multiple 
"units" and "shrines," each containing numerous 
ceramic objects inspired by Mexican and 
American Indian crafts and ceramic works. 
Price's intention was to elevate this "lowly" folk 
pottery — which he had always admired for its 
originality and high quality — to a "fine art" 
sculptural tableau. Each of the individual units 
explores a style or type of pottery. Town Unit 1 
(1972-77) presents cups, bowls, and plates glazed 
in a bright "Mexican palette," with clichekl scenes 



of a sombreroed man in a dramatically colored 
Mexican landscape. Four plates hang on the wall 
above the painted wood cabinet and extend the 
sculptural space beyond the physical mass of the 
unit. In a related manner, the fence surrounding 
the cabinet in Unit 1 (1972-77) defines and 
encompasses an enlarged environmental space. 
The fence, in addition to acting as a protective 
barrier, reinforces the tableau effect of the unit to 
ensure that the individual objects are perceived 
as designed, decorated, and arranged sculptural 
objects in an ensemble. Unit 1 presents a group 
of radically stylized vases, with bright red 
geometric slab handles symmetrically attached to 
multicolored, mottled, and bright yellow vessels 
that contrast "low art" pottery with a "high style" 
Art Deco design. 

Death Shrine 1 (1972-77) presents another 
facet of Price's exploration of ceramic styles, uses, 
and implications. The selection of death images — 
skulls and skeletons — is not used for morbid 
associations, but because of the highly charged 
and active visual imagery This Death Shrine 
incorporates a large-scale architectural 
construction complete with candles, plastic 
flowers, colorful ribbons, and framed drawing, all 
reminiscent of roadside and cemetary altars and 
memorial shrines in Mexico and the Southwest. 
The Happy's Curios pieces, w 7 hile seemingly a 
deviation from Price's concentration on 
independent sculptures, is conceptually and 
formally in complete accord with his artistic 
convictions and goals. The curio units, and the 
glazed, geometric objects — meticulously 
executed and carefully presented — continue to 
advance Price's interest in harmonizing color and 
form, in negating biases against the ceramic 
medium, and in establishing a unique sculptural 
expression. 



TJ 




S.L. Green, 1963 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, W2 x MM x MM" 

(24.1x26.7x26.7 cm) 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of the 

Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc. 66.35 



73 




B. T. Blue, 1962 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 10 x 6M> x 6^2" 

(25.4x16.5x16.5 cm) 

Collection of Becky and Peter Smith 




M. Green, 1961 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 10 x 13 x 11' H 

(25.4 x 33 x 29.2 cm) 

Collection of Betty Asher 



71 



Kenneth Price 

Born in Los Angeles, 1935 

Studied at Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles (1953-54); 

University of Southern California, Los Angeles (B.F.A., 

1956); Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles (1957-58); New York 

State College of Ceramics, Alfred (M.F.A., 1959) 

Lives in Taos, New Mexico 



Selected Solo Exhibitions 

1960 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles 

1961 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles 
1964 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles 

1968 Kasmin Gallery, London 

1969 Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

1970 Gemini G. E. L., Los Angeles 
Kasnun Gallery, London 

1971 Galerie Neuendorf, Cologne, West Germany 
Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles 

David Whitney Gallery, New York 

1972 Gemini G. E. L., Los Angeles 

1973 Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles 

1974 Felicity Samuel Gallery, London 
Willard Gallery, New York 

1977 James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles 

1978 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Ken Price: 
Happy's Curios." Exhibition catalogue, text by Maurice 
Tuchman 

1979 Hansen Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco 
lexas Gallery, Houston 

Willard Gallery, New York 

1980 Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, "Ken Price: 
Selections from Happy's Curios." Exhibition catalogue, 
text by Linda L. Cathcart 

James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles 
Gallery of the School of Visual Arts, New York 
Texas Gallery, Houston 

1981 Betsy Rosenfield Gallery, Chicago 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

1961 Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, "Group Show" 

1962 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
"Fifty California Artists" (traveled to Walker Art Center, 
Minneapolis; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New 
York; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa). Exhibition catalogue, 
texts by Lloyd Goodrich and George D. Culler 



1963 The Oakland Museum, California (at Kaiser Center), 
"California Sculpture" 

1964 Pasadena Art Museum, California, "New American 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Walter Hopps 

1966 Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 
"Abstract Expressionist Ceramics" (traveled to San 
Francisco Museum of Art). Exhibition catalogue, text by 
John Coplans 

Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, "Five 
Los Angeles Sculptors." Exhibition catalogue, text by John 
Coplans 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Robert Irwin/ 
Kenneth Price." Exhibition catalogue, text by Lucy R. 
Lippard 

Seattle Art Museum, "Ten from Los Angeles." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by John Coplans 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1966 
Annual Exhibition: Sculpture and Prints." Exhibition 
catalogue 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
"Contemporary American Sculpture: Selection I." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by John I. H. Baur 

1967 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "American 
Sculpture of the Sixties" (traveled to Philadelphia Museum 
of Art). Exhibition catalogue, text by Maurice Tuchman 

University Art Museum, University of California, 
Berkeley, "Funk." Exhibition catalogue, text by Peter Selz 

1968 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Late Fifties at 
the Ferus." Exhibition catalogue, text by James Monte 

1969 The Museum of Modern Art, New York, "Tamarind: 
Homage to Lithography." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Virginia Allen 

National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Objects: USA— The 
Johnson Collection of Contemporary Crafts" (traveled 
nationally). Exhibition catalogue, text by Lee Nordness 

Pasadena Art Museum, California, "West Coast, 
1945-1969" (traveled to City Art Museum of St. Louis; Art 
Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Fort Worth Art Center, Texas). 
Exhibition catalogue, text by John Coplans 

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland, "Kompas 4: 
West Coast USA." Exhibition catalogue, text by Jan 
Leering 

1970 The Pace Gallery', New York, "A Decade of 
California Color, 1960-1970." Exhibition brochure 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1970 
Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1971 Hayward Gallery, London, "11 Los Angeles Artists." 
Exhibition catalogue, texts by Maurice Tuchman and Jane 
Livingston 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, "Technics 
and Creativity: Gemini G. E. L." Exhibition catalogue, 
text by Riva Castleman 

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, 
"Contemporary Ceramic Art: Canada, USA, Mexico and 
Japan" (traveled to National Museum of Modem Art, 
Tokyo). Exhibition catalogue, text by Kenji Suzuki 



75 



1972 Fort Worth Art Center, Texas, "Contemporary 
American Art: Los Angeles" 

Kunstverein Hamburg, West Germany, "USA West 
Coast" (traveled in West Germany to Kunstverein 
Hannover; Kolniseher Kunstverein; Wurttembergisch.es 
Kunstverein, Stuttgart). Exhibition catalogue, texts by 
Helmut Heissenbiittel and Helen Winer 

Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 
Holland, "Joe Goode, Kenneth Price, Edward Ruscha." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Liesbeth Brandt Corstins 

1974 Lang Art Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, 
California, "The Fred and Mary Marer Collection: 30th 
Annual Ceramics Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue, texts 
by Jim Melchert and Paul Soldner 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Downtown Branch, "Clay." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Richard Marshall 



1980 Delahunty Gallery, Dallas, "The Vessel." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Rick Dillingham 

Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of 
Saskatchewan, Regina, "The Continental Clay Connection." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1981 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "Art in Los 
Angeles: Seventeen Artists in the Sixties." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Maurice Tuchman 

University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, 
"Centering on Contemporary Clay, American Ceramics 
from the Joan Mannheimer Collection." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Jim Melchert 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1981 
Biennial Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue 



Selected Articles and Reviews 



1975 National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Eight from California." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Janet A. Flint 

National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Sculpture: American 
Directions, 1945-1975." Exhibition catalogue 

1976 Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, 
California, "The Last Time I Saw Ferus." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Betty Tumbull 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "Painting 
and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era" (traveled to 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C.). Exhibition catalogue, text by Henry T 
Hopkins 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "200 
Years of American Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, texts 
by Tom Armstrong et al. 

1977 The Brooklyn Museum, New York, "30 Years of 
American Print making." Exhibition catalogue, text by Gene 
Baro 

Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, 
"Foundations in Clay." Exhibition catalogue, texts by 
Robert Smith and John Coplans 

1978 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 
"Nine West Coast Clay Sculptors, 1978" (traveled to The 
Ails and Crafts Center of Pittsburgh). Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by Margie Hughto and Judy S. Schwartz 

1979 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, "A 
Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978" 
(traveled to Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of 
Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.). 
Exhibition catalogue, texts by Garth Clark and Margie 
Hughto 

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., "Directions." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Howard N. Fox. 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, "West Coast 
Ceramics." Exhibition catalogue, text by Rose Slivka 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1979 
Biennial Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue 



Paul LaPorte, "Letter from Los Angeles," Craft Horizons, 

20 (July/August 1960), pp. 43-44. 
Jules Langsner, "Los Angeles Letter," Art International, 5 

(December 1961), pp. 46-48. 
Henry T. Hopkins, "Kenneth Price," in "A Portfolio of 

California Sculptors," Artforum, 2 (August 1963), p. 41. 
John Coplans, "The Sculpture of Kenneth Price," Art 

International, 8 (March 1964), pp. 33-34. 
Clair Wolf, "Los Angeles," Artforum, 2 (April 1964), pp. 

43-44. 
"New Talent," Art in America, 52 (August 1964), pp. 98-99. 
Donald Judd, "Specific Objects," Arts Yearbook, 8 (1965), 

pp. 74-82. 
John Coplans, "5 Los Angeles Sculptors at Irvine," 

Artforum, 4 (February 1966), pp. 33-37. 
Simon Watson Taylor, "London: Stop Press — Nature 

Survives," Art and Artists, 2 (March 1968), pp. 47-48. 
Norbert Lynton, "London Letter," Art International , 12 

(May 1968), pp. 62-63. 
Jane Livingston, "Two Generations in L.A.," Art in 

America, 57 (January 1969), pp. 92-97. 
Peter Layton, "London Commentary: Kenneth Price Cups 

at Kasmin," Studio International, 179 (February 

1970), pp. 75-76. 
David Zack, "Is Kenneth Price a Nut Artist?," Art and 

Artists, 4 (February 1970), pp. 46-47. 
Peter Plagens, "Los Angeles," Artforum, 9 (March 1971), p. 

71. 
Carter Ratcliff, "New York Letter," Art International, 15 

(March 20, 1971), pp. 47-^50. 
Phyllis Derfner, "Kenneth Price at Willard," Art in 

America, 63 (May/June 1975), pp. 87-89. 
Carter Ratcliff, "Notes on Small Sculpture," Artforum, 14 

(April 1976), pp. 35-42. 
Bernard Kester, "Kenneth Price," Craft Horizons, 38 (June 

1978), p. 57. 
Peter Schjeldahl, "Ken Price: Los Angeles County 

Museum," Artforum, 17 (November 1978), pp. 78-79. 
Joan Simon, "An Interview with Ken Price," Art in 

America, 68 (January 1980), pp. 98-104. 
William Wilson, "The Galleries: La Cienega," Los Angeles 

Times, April 18, 1980, section 4, p. 10 
John Perreault, "This Price is Right," Soho News, October 

8, 1980, p. 43. 



76 




S. D. Green, 1966 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 5 x 4 x W-2 

(12.7x10.2x24.1 cm) 

Collection of James J. Meeker 




Green and Cream, 1967 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 3^2 x 4 x 9" 

(8.9x10.2x22.9 cm) 

Collection of the artist 



77 




Specimen Bl.520.06, 1964 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware with fabric and wood 
construction, 12 x 15/2 x 7" (30.5 x 39.4 x 17.8 cm) 
Collection of the artist 



7^ 




Nose Cup, 1968 

Glazed earthenware, 3x3x5" (7.6 x 7.6 x 12.7 cm) 

Collection of Frank Stella 




Snail Cup, 1968 

Glazed earthenware, 2 5 /s x 3 x AYz" (6.7 x 7.6 x 11.4 cm) 

Collection of the artist 



79 




Slate Cup, 1972 

Acrylic on earthenware, hV-z x 6 x 5" (14 x 15.2 x 12.7 cm) 

Collection of Edwin Janss 




Untitled Cup, 1974 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; 4% x 5'/i x 4" (12.1 x 13.3 
x 10.2 cm) and l'/t x IV» x 2" (3.2 x 2.9 x 5.1 cm) 
Collection of the artist 



so 




Blind Sea Turtle Cup, 1968 

Glazed earthenware with sand, glass and wood 

construction, 63M> x 29M> x 32" 

(161.3 x 74.9 x 81.3 cm) overall 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Fractional gift of 

Charles Cowles 



81 




Death Shrine J, 1972-78 

Glazed earthenware, wood construction, and mixed media 

accessories, 101 x 108 x 72" (256.5 x 274.3 x 182.9 cm) overall 

The Art Institute of Chicago; Restricted gift of 

Andrew and Betsy Rosenfield 



32 




ff 



— 









|g £ %V & £j 



x* 



■^jr^goeO %gjy 




Zbttw £7w#l, 1972-77 

Glazed earthenware and wood cabinet, 70 x 39 x 20" 

(177.8 x 99.1 x 50.8 cm) 

Private collection 



83 




Israeli Sculpture, 1979 

Glazed earthenware, 7 x &/* x 5M>" (17.8 x 15.9 x 14) 

Private collection 



si 




Tail Piece, 1980 

Glazed earthenware, 6V4 x 8 x 5V2" (15.9 x 20.3 x 14 cm) 

Willard Gallery, New York 



85 




De Chirico's Bathhouse, 1980 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; 8V1 x 8 15 /i6 x 3Vi6" 

(21 x 21.1 x 7.8 em) and % x 4% x 2Vi>" (1.9 x 11.1 x 6.4 cm) 

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; Foundation for the Arts 

( 'oiled mil. Anonymous uil't 



86 



Robert Arneson 



Smorgi-Bob, The Cook (1971), one of Robert 
Arneson's earliest large-scale works, is the 
culmination of a group of pieces done in the late 
1960s that depicted plates, dishes, foods, and 
household items. It features Arneson in a chefs 
hat at the head of an illusionistically receding 
table laden with banquet foods — a celebration 
of ceramics and of the artist as the cook who 
makes it all. In addition to the strongly 
autobiographical references, the work 
introduces a number of characteristics of his 
later work — large-scale pieces composed of 
multiple units assembled like a puzzle, 
illusionistic space and false perspective, and 
references to art making and art history. 

In 1972 Arneson began a series of self-portraits 
executed in unglazed terra-cotta. This type of 
ceramic material reinforced the intentional 
allusion to ancient Roman bust portraits and 
herms. In Classical Exposure (1972), Arneson 
chews a cigar — atop a classical column from 
which exposed genitals protrude and feet appear 
under draped rings at the base. Fragment of 
Western Civilization (1972), originally planned 
as a full-scale portrait in hand-built bricks, 
developed into an installation of toppled 
fragments of Arneson s head and body that is 
reminiscent of an archaeological dig. The punning 
title suggests additional speculation on what 
Arneson called "the fall of man" and "the 
breakdown of culture." The broken bricks strewn 
around the floor all bear autobiographical 
stampings (where a brick manufacturer's name 
would othei"wise appear) including: "Arneson," 
"Bob," "Clay," "Benicia" (Arneson's birthplace), 
"9-4-1930" (Arneson's birthdate), "Virgo," and 
miscellaneous profanities. 

Current Event (1973), The Palace at 9 A.M. 
(1974), and Casualty in the Art Realm (1979) are 
all large-scale pieces made of multiple, brightly 
glazed units individually hand-built and fired. 
The multi-unit construction allows for a scale that 
size limitations of a kiln would prohibit were they 
single-unit works. Current Erent depicts 
Arneson swimming in an arrow-shaped current of 
high-gloss wet-looking glazes of blue and green 



that contrast sharply with the dryness of the 
unglazed terra-cotta head and ann — like a rock in 
a stream. The configuration of the piece on the 
floor amplifies the movement and thrust of the 
activity depicted in the same way that the 
puddling effect of the clear glazes mimics the 
characteristics of water. A similar sense of 
movement is apparent in The Palace at 9 A.M. — 
a ten-foot-wide rendering of Arneson's former 
Alice Street home in Davis, California, seen in 
pictorial perspective as the house and street 
slope down a graded platform. The title makes a 
direct reference to Alberto Giacometti's The 
Palace at h A.M. (1932-33), but as Arneson 
remarks, "it's a little later." A more updated art- 
historical reference appears in Casualty in the 
Art Realm. Arneson's works often display his 
handprints or footprints stamped into wet clay. 
Here, however, it is an impression of his entire 
body that appears in this gigantic, floor-based 
artists palette surrounded by numerous quotes, 
misquotes, and cliches of art stamped into the 
clay. The casualty, in this case, has dual 
references — in particular to Arneson, who was 
physically pushed into the wet clay, and in 
general to the artist, who is subjected to the 
vagaries of art criticism. 

Self-portraits have been a constant, ongoing 
exploration for Arneson, and the busts begun in 
1976 are increasingly ambitious in scale and 
expression. They almost doubled the scale of his 
earlier busts, allowing him greater range of 
characterization, coloration, and experimen- 
tation. Arneson uses — he says "abuses" — his 
likeness to develop a total characterization of 
emotion and reaction that captures a frozen 
moment in time. He describes these portraits as 
a type of "robust assassination." These works 
exist on multiple levels of meaning and have titles 
that are clues or anti-clues to narrative 
references. Cheek (1976) refers both to his 
bandaged cheek and to Arneson's self- 
characterization as having the "cheek" to even 
attempt such a portrait. Whistling in the Dark 
(1976) acknowledges the facial action in a 
darkened, unglazed clay body, and also comments 



SN 



''"SssrsK 





Smorgi-Bob, The Cook, 1971 

Glazed earthenware on vinyl-covered wood base, 

72 x 60 x 60" (182.3 x 152.4 x 152.4 cm) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Purchase 



on the uncertainty that often accompanies an 
artist's exploration of ideas and forms. Nasal 
Flat (1981) is Ameson's largest self-portrait — 
over three feet high — and emphasizes his facility 
and dexterity as a painter and draftsman. The 
work reverses traditional sculptural concerns by 
physically and conceptually pushing a three- 
dimensional piece toward two dimensions. 
Araeson has enhanced the flatness of the form 
and overall color application by applying a 
network of interwoven and layered washes, lines, 
and spatters of color that do not always 
correspond to the modeling or dimensionality of 
the facial features. 

Arneson also portrayed friends, colleagues, 
and admired artists — the list includes Peter 
Voulkos, David Gilhooly, Vincent van Gogh, 
Marcel Duchamp, and Francis Bacon. Roy of 
Port Costa (1976), depicting the artist Roy De 
Forest, is the first non-self-portrait done in the 
enlarged scale. William T. Wiley is humorously 
presented as Mr. Unatural (1978), a frequent 
character in Wiley's own paintings and drawings. 
Picasso also makes an appearance as Pablo Ruiz 
with Itch (1980). The artist, shown scratching his 
own back, is a collage of art-historical references. 
The head is based on Picasso's Self-Portrait 
(1907), the posture and angle of the arm taken 
from Les Demoiselles aVAvignon (1907), and the 
pedestal, integral to the piece, is designed and 
decorated with characteristic Cubist features — 
the double curls at the top of the pedestal mimic 
Picasso's portraits of women with paired eyes on 
the same side of the nose. 



90 




Fragment of Western Civilization, 1972 

Terra-cotta, 41 x 120 x 120" (104.1 x 304.8 x 304.8 cm) 

overall 

Australian National Gallery, Canberra 



91 




Classical Exposure, 1972 

Terra-cotta, 96 x 36 x 24" (243.8 x 91.4 x 61 cm) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Fendrick 



92 



Robert Arneson 

Born in Benicia, California, 1930 

Studied at College of Marin, Kentfield, California (1949-51); 

California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland (B.A., 1954); 

Mills College, Oakland (M.F.A., 1958) 

'Taught at Mills College, Oakland (1960-62); University of 

California, Davis (1962-present) 

Lives in Benicia, California 



Selected Solo Exhibitions 

1960 Oakland Art Museum, California 

1963 Richmond Art Center, California 

1964 Cellini Gallery, San Francisco 
Allan Stone Gallery, New York 

1968 Galena Del Sol, Santa Barbara, California, 
"Arneson: Ceramics and Drawings." Exhibition brochure 

Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1969 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 
Allan Stone Gallery, New York 

1970 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1971 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1972 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1973 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1974 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, "Robert 

Arneson" (traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern 
Art). Exhibition catalogue, texts by Stephen Prokopoff and 
Suzanne Foley 

1975 Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York 
Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 
Ruth S. Schaffner Gallery, Los Angeles 

1976 Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C. 
Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 
Memorial Union Art Gallery, University of 

California, Davis 

1977 Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York, "Seven 
Monumental Heads." Exhibition brochure 

Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1978 Allan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago 

1979 Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York, "Robert 
Arneson: Heroes and Clowns." Exhibition catalogue, text 
by Michael McTwigan 

Moore College of Art Gallery, Philadelphia, "Robert 
Arneson: Self-Portraits." Exhibition catalogue, text bv Beth 
Coffelt 

1980 Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C. 
Frumkin and Struve Gallery, Chicago 
Hansen Fuller Gokleen Gallery, San Francisco 



1981 Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York, "Robert 
Arneson: New Ceramic Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, 
text by Michael McTwigan 



Selected Group Exhibitions 

1962 Seattle World's Fair, "Adventures in Art." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Gervais Reed 

1963 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "Creative Casting." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Paul J. Smith 

The Oakland Museum, California (at Kaiser Center), 
"California Sculpture" 

1964 Cellini Gallery, San Francisco, "Group Show" 

1966 Museum West, American Craftsmen's Council, San 
Francisco, "Ceramics from Davis" 

Reed College, Portland, Oregon, "California Ceramic 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Erik Gronborg 

1967 San Francisco Museum of Art, "Arts of San 
Francisco" 

University Art Museum, University of California, 
Berkeley, "Funk." Exhibition catalogue, text by Peter Selz 

1968 The Museum of Modem Art, New York, "Dada, 
Surrealism, and Their Heritage" (traveled to Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago). 
Exhibition catalogue, text by William S. Rubin 

1969 Institute of Contemporary Art of The University of 
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, "The Spirit of the Comics." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Joan C. Siegfried 

National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C, "Objects: USA— The 
Johnson Collection of Contemporary Crafts" (traveled 
nationally). Exhibition catalogue, text by Lee Nordness 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
"Human Concern/Personal Torment: The Grotesque in 
American Art." Exhibition catalogue, text by Robert M. 
Doty 

1970 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1970 
Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1971 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "Clayworks: 20 Americans." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Paul J. Smith 

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, 
"Contemporary Ceramic Art: Canada, USA, Mexico and 
Japan" (traveled to National Museum of Modem Art, 
Tokyo). Exhibition catalogue, text by Kenji Suzuki 

• 

1972 Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral 
Gables, Florida, "Phases of New Realism." Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by John J. Baratte and Paul E. Thompson 

San Francisco Museum of Art, "A Decade of 
Ceramic Art, 1962-1972: From the Collection of Professor 
and Mrs. R. Joseph Monsen." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Suzanne Folev 



93 



1974 Lang Art Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, 
California, "The Fred and Mary Marer Collection: 30th 
Annual Ceramics Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue, texts 
by Jim Melchert and Paul Soldner 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 
"Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture, 1974." 
Exhibition catalogue, texts by James R. Shipley and Allen 
S. Weller 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Downtown Branch, "Clay." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Richard Marshall 

1975 Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C., "Clay USA." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Daniel Fendrick 

National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Sculpture: American 
Directions, 1945-1975." Exhibition catalogue 

1976 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "Painting 
and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era" (traveled to 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C.). Exhibition catalogue, text by Henry 
T. Hopkins 

1977 William Hayes Ackland Art Center, University of 
North Carolina, Chapel Hill, "Contemporary Ceramic 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Louise Hobbs 

Laguna Beach Museum of Art, California, 
"Illusionistic Realism." Exhibition catalogue 

Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine 
Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., "The 
Object as Poet." Exhibition catalogue, text by Rose Slivka 

1978 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 
"Nine West Coast Clay Sculptors, 1978" (traveled to The 
Arts and Crafts Center of Pittsburgh). Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by Margie Hughto and Judy S. Schwartz 

1979 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, "A 
Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978" 
(traveled to Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of 
Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.) 
Exhibition catalogue, texts by Garth Clark and Margie 
Hughto 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, "West Coast 
Ceramics." Exhibition catalogue, text by Rose Slivka 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1979 
Biennial Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue 

1980 Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of 
Saskatchewan, Regina, "The Continental Clay Connection." 
Exhibition catalogue 

San Diego Museum of Art, California, "Sculpture in 
California, 1975-80." Exhibition catalogue, text by Richard 
Armstrong 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "Twenty 
American Artists." Exhibition catalogue, text by Henry T. 
Hopkins 



Selected Articles and Reviews 

Elizabeth M. Polley, "Robert Arneson: Richmond Art 

Center," Art forum, 2 (January 1964), p. 9. 
Donald Judd, "Review: Robert Arneson," Arts Magazine, 

39 (January 1965), p. 69. 
David Zack, "The Ceramics of Robert Arneson," Craft 

Horizons, 30 (January/February 1970), pp. 36-41, 

60-61. 
Robert Arneson, My Head in Ceramics (Davis, Calif.: 

Robert Arneson, 1972). 
Alan R. Meisel, "Letter from San Francisco: Robert 

Arneson," Craft Horizons, 32 (February 1972), pp. 

44-45. 
Fred Ball, "Arneson," Craft Horizons, 34 (February 1974), 

pp. 29-30, 63-65. 
Dennis Adrian, "Robert Arneson 's Feats of Clay," Art in 

America, 62 (September/October 1974), pp. 80-83. 
Alfred Frankenstein, "Of Bricks, Pop Bottles, and a Better 

Mousetrap," San Francisco Sunday Examiner & 

Chronicle, This World Magazine, October 6, 1974, p. 

37. 
Cecile N. McCann, "About Arneson, Art and Ceramics," 

Artweek, October 26, 1974, pp. 1, 6-7. 
Phyllis Derfner, "New York Letter," Art International, 19 

* (April 1975), p. 58. 
Allen Ellenzweig, "Review: Robert Arneson," Arts 

Magazine, 49 (April 1975), p. 14. 
C. E. Licka, "A Prima Facie Sampler: A Case for Popular 

Ceramics, I." Currant, 1 (August/September 1975), pp. 

30-34, 60. 
C. E. Licka, "A Prima Facie Sampler: A Case for Popular 

Ceramics, II," Currant, 1 (October/November 1975), 

pp. 8-13, 50-53. 
Alfred Frankenstein, "The Ceramic Sculpture of Robert 

Arneson: Transforming Craft into Art," Art News, 75 

(January 1976), pp. 48-50. 
Gwen Stone, "Robert Arneson in Conversation with Gwen 

Stone," Visual Dialog, 2 (September/October/ 

November 1976), pp. 5-8. 
Hilton Kramer, "Sculpture: From Boring to Brilliant," New 

York Times, May 15, 1977, p. D27. 
Sarah McFadden, "Robert Arneson at Frumkin," Art in 

America, 65 (July/August 1977), p. 100. 
Jeff Perrone, "New York Reviews," Artforum, 16 

(September 1977), p. 75. 
Beth Coffelt, "Delta Bob and Captain Ace," San Francisco 

Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, California Living 

Magazine, April 8, 1979, pp. 40-47. 
Rnute Stiles, "San Francisco: Robert Arneson at Hansen 

Fuller Goldeen," Art in America, 68 (September 1980), 

p. 132. 
Vivien Raynor, "Art: Ceramic Caricatures by Robert 

Arneson," New York Times, May 8, 1981. p. C18. 
Grace Glueck, "Art People: A Partner to His Kiln." New 

York Times, May 15, 1981, p. C21. 



94 



1981 American ( 'raft Museum, New York, "The Clay 
Figure" 

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 
Providence, "Clay." Exhibition catalogue 

I Iniversity of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, 
"( 'entering on Contemporary Clay: American Ceramics 
from the. loan Mannheimer Collection." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Jim Melchert 




Casualty in the Art Realm, 1979 

Glazed earthenware, 8 x 97 x 132" (20.3 x 246.4 x 335.3 cm) 

Hansen Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco 



95 








>>>/«/. HITS 

Terra-cotta anrl glazed earthenware, 33 x 22 x 22" 

(83.8x55.9 x 55.9 cm) 

Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 

Gallery, San Francisco 



96 








T 



f 



Whistling in the Dark, 1976 

Terra-cotta and glazed earthenware, 35^2 x 20 x 20" 

(90.2x50.8x50.8 cm) 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of 

Svdnev and Frances Lewis 77.37 



97 





!1 







Current Event, 1973 

Terra-cotta and glazed earthenware, 9^2 x 173 x 

(24.1x439.4x213.4 cm) 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 



98 




: H E E 



Cheek, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 34 x 21 x 21" (86.4 x 53.3 x 53.3 cm) 

Collection of Sydney and Frances Lewis 



W 



/ \ 



i 






v_V 



c 




ivtn/Uv-a^u^l/^ 



Mr. Unatural, 1978 

Glazed earthenware, 53% x 22 x 22" (135.9 x 55.9 x 55.9 cm) 

Private collection 



100 




Nasal Flat, 1981 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; bust 37^4 x 36V2 x 18" 

(95.9 x 92.7 x 45.7 cm), pedestal 46% x 28 x 20M>" 

(117.8 x 71.1 x 52.1 cm) 

Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York 



101 




Roy Of Port Costa, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 34 x 18% x 18 V (86.4 x 47.6 x 47.6 cm) 

Collection of Sydney and Frances Lewis 



ldli 




Pablo Ruiz with Itch, 1980 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; bust 29M> x 22 x 22" 

(74.9 x 55.9 x 55.9 cm), pedestal 58 x 21V 2 x 15" 

(147.3x69.8x38.1 cm) 

Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York 



103 



David Gilhooly 



Frogs entered David Gilhooly's work in the late 
1960s and have since multiplied into a large and 
complex population which often mimics, parallels, 
and comments on human civilization. Gilhooly 
employs frog images in outlandish circumstances 
and costumes — which often have counterparts in 
the artist's own world — to advance and elaborate 
his imaginary sculptural narrative of frog history, 
customs, and characters. 

An early group of works concerns itself with 
some of the major personalities of the frog world. 
Artemis, First Fertility Goddess (1971) is one of 
the earliest frog deities to be created. She is seen 
with a number of fat animals on her head, 
necklaces of brightly colored vegetables, and a 
double row of breasts. Artemis introduces the 
unique aspect of Gilhooly's frog culture — the 
recurring and abundant use of food. His frogs do 
not eat food (because they gain nourishment 
directly through their skin, from the sun and 
from microorganisms in the air), but use food for 
decoration, amusement, and artistic expression. 
Frogs also have the capability of transforming 
themselves into various guises and food types to 
suit many implausible situations and sculptural 
requirements. The Miracle of Production (1972) 
is an announcement for a frog movie production 
about the processing of raw foods into packaged 
goods. It depicts Osiris, the male fertility god 
and frog movie star, wrapped mummy-like in 
woven pastry strips with an arc spanning the 
body. On one side of the arc raw foods appear, 
commercial products on the other. Osiris' fertility 
is displayed in the rows of colorful vegetables that 
sprout from his body. The Honey Sisters, cohorts 
of Osiris in the frog pantheon, make a personal 
appearance to bolster farm growth in The Honey 
Sisters Do a Garden Blessing (1973). Another 
piece, Drowning in the Consumer Market 
(1973-74) is also the title of a moralistic frog 
movie — like The Miracle of Production — about 
overconsumption and hoarding. It shows Frog 
Fred, a contemporary manifestation of Osiris, 
engulfed by colorful packages and kitchen 
appliances. 

Gilhooly takes advantage of the special 



characteristics and properties of the clay 
material, which are often analogous in texture, 
consistency, and color to what is being depicted. 
He maintains a close relationship between the 
material and the subject matter: wet clay mimics 
the malleability of dough; shiny and colorful 
glazes substitute for frostings and vegetable 
skins; hardened clay can be carved like stone 
and wood; clay, vegetables, and frogs share 
associations with earth and water. In an ironic 
and perverse way, Gilhooly is also making 
reference to the kitschy, cheap and gaudily 
colored dime-store or homemade animals and 
figurines that ceramic sculpture often strives to 
separate itself from. 

A group of works completed in 1975 displays 
Gilhooly's use of clay for its stone-like qualities; — 
they are carved when the clay is in a leather-hard 
state. Depicting historical events in frog 
civilization, they appear as commemorative and 
memorial-like objects. The Ten Commandments 
(1975) are two tablets embedded in rock that 
present in bas-relief pictographs some vague 
and mysterious canons of Frog Moses' law. 
Commandment VI, for instance, presents a 
chorus line of different animals that symbolizes 
"All Races Dance Together." Frog Fred's Prayer 
Stela: The Presentation of His New Work 
(1975), again in bas-relief, records the progress of 
his work: the Honey Sisters give Frog Fred 
inspiration, in the form of a bunch of bananas 
(panel 1); tradesmen bring Frog Fred needed 
goods — pastry, tobacco, automobiles (panels 2 
and 3); the presentation of the finished work, The 
Ten Commandments, to applauding frogs (panel 
4); and the rewards of work in the form of a 
humanoid collector and a frog art critic (panel 5). 
The monumental Many Lives of Frog Fred 
Manorial Obelisk (1975) shows, in ascending 
order, all the various physical and spiritual 
manifestations of Frog Fred: as a consumer, in 
his animal and occupational guises, to his 
ultimate metamorphosis into angelic forms. 

As in other cultures, the frog culture also has 
important historical and religious figures, such as 
Frog Victoria, Mao Tse Toad, and the erotic 



mi 




The Miracle of Production, 1972 

Glazed earthenware, 13M> x 14 x 28" (34.3 x 35.6 x 71.1 cm) 

Collection of David Bourdon 



105 



Tantric Frog Buddha Camping Out (all 1976). 
Surfaced in highly reflective gold glaze, this full 
and rounded Tantric Frog Buddha acts as an 
electric power generating station for the frog 
world, deriving his energy from sexual 
stimulation provided by the dancing temple girls 
seen on the base cavorting with Boy Scouts and 
forest rangers while "camping out." 

In the frog world, the body is mutable and can 
change for any situation or occasion. This allows 
for great flexibility both in the narrative of the 
frog civilization and in sculptural expression. 
As a result, a Frog de Kooning with Cubist 
Pigeons (1976), displaying colorful expressionistic 
brushstrokes, can bring Fine Art to the frog 
world, and the frog Pastiy God can metamor- 
phose himself into the Count of Crumbs Dressed 
for His Bar Mitzvah (1974), exchanging his 
amphibious skin for one of cupcakes, donuts, 
bagels, pizza, and cookies. Another popular 
inhabitant of the frog world is the merfrog, a frog 
with a fish tail. These amicable creatures live in 
the water and befriend other aquatic animals, as 
in Merfrog and Her Pet Fish (1976). The many 
strange and absurd figures that populate 
Gilhooly's work uphold the frog world principle 
that the spirit rather than the body is the 
essential thing. 



K)(i 




The Honey Sisters Do a Garde>i Blessing, 1973 
Glazed earthenware, 19 x 33 x 26" (48.3 x 83.8 x 66 cm) 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; William L. Gerstle 
Collection, William L. Gerstle Fund Purchase 



101 




osins Vegefrogged, 1973 

Glazed earthenware, 45 x 17 x 17" (114.3 x 43.2 x 43.2 cm) 

Philadelphia Museum of Art; Bloomfield-Moore Fund 



108 



David Gilhooly 

Bom in Aubum, California, 1943 

Studied at University of California, Davis (B.A., 1965; 

M.A., 1967) 

Taught at San Jose State College, California (1967-69); 

University of Saskatchewan, Regina (1969-71); York 

University, Toronto (1971-75, 1976-77); University of 

California, Davis (1975-76, 1980); Sacramento State College, 

California (1978-79) 

Lives in Davis, California 



1979 Hansen Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco 
Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, 

Sackville, New Brunswick, "David Gilhooly: Recent Works" 
(traveled to Confederation Centre Art Gallery and 
Museum, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Art 
Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; Memorial University Art 
Gallery, St. John's, Newfoundland). Exhibition catalogue, 
text by T. Keilor Bentley 

1980 Rebecca Cooper, Inc., New York 

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California, 
"David Gilhooly: Big Stuff." Exhibition brochure 



Selected Solo Exhibitions 

1965 Richmond Art Center, California 

1966 University of California, Davis 

1969 Art Department Gallery, Sonoma State College, 
Rohnert Park, California 

M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco 

1970 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1971 Candy Store Gallery, Folsom, California 
Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 
Mailha Jackson Gallery, New York 

1972 Art Gallery, York University, Toronto, "Gifts from 
the Frog World" (traveled to The Robert McLaughlin 
Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario). Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Gary Michael Dault 

1973 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 

1974 and/or Gallery, Seattle 

Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 



1975 



1976 



Candy Store Gallery, Folsom, California 

Galerie Martal, Montreal 

Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 



Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco 
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, "David 

Gilhooly." Exhibition catalogue, texts by Judith R. Kirshner 

and Stephen Prokopoff 

The Vancouver Art Gallery, "My Beaver and I " 

Exhibition catalogue, text by Gary Michael Dault 

1977 ARCO Center for Visual Art, Los Angeles, "David 
Gilhooly." Exhibition brochure 

Candy Store Gallery, Folsom, California 
Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia 
Ruth S. Schaffner Gallery, Los Angeles 
Galerie Darthea Speyer, Paris 

1978 Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo 

Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "David Gilhooly: Ceramics." 
Exhibition brochure, text by David Gilhooly 

University Art Galleries, University of North 
Dakota, Grand Forks 



Selected Group Exhibitions 

1966 Museum West, American Craftsmen's Council, San 
Francisco, "Ceramics from Davis" 

Reed College, Portland, Oregon, "California Ceramic 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Erik Gronborg 

1967 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, "Ceramic 
Sculpture" 

San Francisco Museum of Art, "Arts of San 
Francisco" 

University Art Museum, University of California, 
Berkeley, "Funk." Exhibition catalogue, text by Peter Selz 

1968 Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, "Zoological 
Garden" 

1969 Institute of Contemporary Art of The University of 
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, "The Spirit of the Comics." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Joan C. Siegfried 

National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Objects: USA— The 
Johnson Collection of Contemporary Crafts" (traveled 
nationally). Exhibition catalogue, text by Lee Nordness 

1970 The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, "Realismes 70" 
(traveled to Art Gallery of Toronto). Exhibition catalogue, 
text by Mario Amaya 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1970 
Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture.'' 
Exhibition catalogue 

1971 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "Clayworks: 20 Americans." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Paul J. Smith 

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, 
"Contemporary Ceramic Art: Canada, USA, Mexico and 
Japan" (traveled to National Museum of Modern Art, 
Tokyo). Exhibition catalogue, text by Kenji Suzuki 

1972 Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral 
Gables, Florida, "Phases of New Realism." Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by John J. Baratte and Paul E. Thompson 

San Francisco Museum of Art, "A Decade of 
Ceramic Art, 1962-1972: From the Collection of Professor 
and Mrs. R. Joseph Monsen." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Suzanne Foley 

1973 Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York, "Four Ceramic 
Sculptors from California" 



109 



1974 The Oakland Museum, California, "Public Sculpture/ 
Urban Environment." Exhibition catalogue, text by George 
Neubert 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Downtown Branch, "Clay." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Richard Marshall 

1975 Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C. "Clay USA." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Daniel Fendrick 

1976 Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New 
Hampshire, "Contemporary Clay: Ten Approaches" 
(traveled to Davison Arl ('niter, Wesleyan University, 
Middleton, Connecticut). Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Malcom Cochran 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "Painting 
and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era" (traveled to 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C). Exhibition catalogue, text by Henry T 
Hopkins 

1977 William Hayes Ackland Art Center, University of 
North Carolina, Chapel Hill, "Contemporary Ceramic 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Louise Hobbs 

1978 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 
"Nine West Coast Clay Sculptors, 1978" (traveled to The 
Arts and Crafts Center of Pittsburgh). Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by Margie Hughto and Judy S. Schwartz 

Grossmont College Gallery, El Caj6n, California, 
"Viewpoints: Ceramics 1978." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Rudy Turk 

1979 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, "A 
Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978" 
(traveled to Remvick ( Jallery of the National < 'ullection of 
Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C). 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Garth Clark and Margie 
Hughto 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, "West Coast 
Ceramics." Exhibition catalogue, text by Rose Slivka 

1980 Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of 
Saskatchewan, Regina, "The Continental Clay Connection." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1981 University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, 
"Centering on Contemporary Clay: American Ceramics 
from the Joan Mannheimer Collection." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Jim Melchert 



World," Artscanda, 29 (Spring 1972), pp. 12-13. 
David Gilhooly, Frog Fred's Erotic Frog Colouring Book 

(Toronto: David Gilhooly, 1973). 
Cecile N. McCann, "Frog Fred and Associated Deities," 

Artweek, June 23, 1973, p. 7. 
Ron Shuebrook, "Regina F\ink," Art and Artists, 8 

(August 1973), pp. 38-41. 
Thomas Albright, "David Gilhooly at Hansen Fuller," Art in 

America, 61 (September/October 1973), pp. 120-21. 
Dale McConathy, "David Gilhooly's Mythanthropy, or From 

the Slime to the Ridiculous," Artscanada, 32 (June 

1975), pp. 1-11. 
Roberta Loach, "David Gilhooly in Conversation with 

Roberta Loach," Visual Dialog, 2 (September/ 

October/November 1976), pp. 13-17. 
Elaine Levin, "David Gilhooly's Bountiful Beastiary," 

Artweek, October 22, 1977, pp. 1, 16. 
"Seattle's Own Ark," Seattle Arts, 2 (December 1978), p. 1. 
Jane Goldman, "From the Beslimed to the Ridiculous: The 

Frog World of Artist David Gilhooly," Sacramento, 5 

(November 1979), pp. 44-50, 58, 70. 



Selected Articles and Reviews 

David Zack. "David Gilhooly," Craft Horizons, 30 (March/ 

April 1970), p. 46. 
Jeannette Arneson, "David Gilhooly: Ceramist for the 

Cacops, Eryops, Buettneria. Diplocaulus, Cephlapods, 

and Trilobites," Craft Horizons, 31 (August 1971), pp. 

20 21, 70-71. 
Alan R. Meisel, "Letter from San Francisco," Craft 

Horizons, 31 (October 1971), pp. 52-53. 
Cecile N. McCann, "David Gilhooly and Friends," Artweek, 

October 30, 1971, p. 7. 
Gary Michael Dault, "With David Gilhooly in the Frog 



110 




fsEPt£ 0* 



Drowning in the Consumer Market, 1973-74 

Glazed earthenware, 19 x 33 x 26" (48.3 x 83.8 x 66 cm) 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 



111 




The Ten Commandments, 1975 

Glazed earthenware, 31V2 \ 253 1 x 17V (79.2 x 65.4 x 44.5 cm) 

Australian National Gallery, Canberra 



112 




Tantric Frog Buddha Camping Out, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 26V-2 x 16 x 15" (67.3 x 40.6 x 38.1 cm) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Shoenberg 



113 




Mao Tse Toad, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 31 x 21 x ll 1 -" (78.7 x 53.3 x 36.8 cm) 

The Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, Ontario 



111 




Frog Victoria (Her 100th Year as Queen), 1976 

Glazed earthenware, S3V 2 x 24 x 19VV' (85.1 x 61 x 49.5 cm) 

Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia 



115 




The Many Lives of Frog Fred Memorial Obelisk, 1975 
Glazed earthenware, 38V4 x 12 x 13" (96.8 x 30.5 x 33 cm) 
Collection of the Capital Group, Inc., Los Angeles 



116 




Merfrog and Her Pet Fish, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 42 x 29 x 48" (106.7 x 73.7 x 121.9 cm) 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of 
Mr. and Mrs. William A. Marsteller, the John I. H. Baur 
Purchase Fund (and purchase) 79.26 



117 





Frog de Kooning with Cubist Pigeons, 1976 

( Hazed earthenware, 29 x 22 x 22" (73.7 x 55.9 x 55.9 cm) 

Private collection 



LIS 




Count of Crumbs Dressed for His Bar Mitzvah, 1974 
Glazed earthenware, 21 x 21 x 21" (53.3 x 53.3 x 53.3 cm) 
Collection of Barney A. Ebsworth 



119 



Richard Shaw 



Richard Shaw's sculptures are imaginative 
assemblages of meticulously executed objects 
that display a refined sense of composition, 
contradiction, and humor. His works of the late 
1960s were hand-built objects in earthenware — 
animals, furniture, and vessels — with painted 
illusionistic decoration and surreal scenes. In 
1971, however, Shaw changed materials and 
technique, beginning a series of works in cast and 
glazed porcelain. S on a Pillow (1971) is one of 
the first pieces made of assembled porcelain 
items cast from found objects. Shaw expertly 
casts hundreds of objects — geometric shapes and 
odd, interesting things found in the studio, taken 
from friends, and bought in junk shops — using a 
system of plaster molds into which a porcelain 
slip is poured. The mold is turned so that the 
entire inside of it is equally coated, and the 
excess slip is poured out. The cast object is 
then removed from the mold, fired, and later 
assembled, glazed, and fired a second time. S on 
a Pillow — a brightly colored S-hook balanced on 
a pillow atop a rock — emphasizes the tension 
between different surfaces, textures, and colors, 
and between hard and soft. It simultaneously 
announces the incongruity and irony of depicting- 
metal, fabric, feathers, and stone in the same 
thin- walled porcelain material that is glazed to 
achieve realistic coloration. 

Cup on a Rock (1972) and Teapot (1973) make 
reference to the traditional use of porcelain, 
and other ceramic materials, for the formation 
of functional vessels and containers. Shaw's 
concerns, however, are with formal rather than 
functional associations. Although these pieces 
could be used to hold liquids, the awkwardness of 
form and dysfunctionality of design make their 
utility conceptual rather than actual. The works 
explore issues of balance, form, and color by 
combining real objects in surreal juxtapositions. 
Wood Slab with Cup and Case Knife (1974) 
exhibits a shift away from the surreal to a 
greater involvement with the constmction of 
realistic, sculptural still lifes. Shaw's objects are 
charged with references and associations that 
reflect a type of folksy, rustic Americana, a 



"down home" life-style often associated with rural 
areas of Northern California. Moonlight Goose 
(1978) and Target with Coffee Can (1978) are 
both tightly composed arrangements of common, 
undistinguished items — coffee cans, twigs, 
plywood, and cylinders — recalling fence-post 
shooting targets and duck whirligigs. Their 
realism extends beyond the exact reproduction of 
shape and surface decoration to encompass a 
structural composition that reveals actual 
supports and bracing. A direct and conscious 
reference to the nineteenth-century American 
trompe-l'oeil paintings of John Peto and William 
Harnett is apparent in Styrofoam Cup with 
Pencils (1976). This work is from a series of wall- 
mounted plaques resembling wall boards with 
paper, playing cards, letters, and objects 
attached. Like all of Shaw's work, these three- 
dimensional collages of derelict objects presented 
in a hallucinatory style explore visual, sculptural, 
and psychological issues. 

Stack of Books #i (1978) and House of Cards 
with Two Volumes (1980) extend Shaw's 
involvement with precise still-life constructions 
and exhibit his expert adaptation of the 
structural possibilities of porcelain and the 
decorative capabilities of glazes. Stack of Books 
#i is the first of a series of book pieces — each 
with different things topping the stack — that 
explores the qualities of texture and color, and 
the tensions and transitions existing between 
cast, hand-built, and wheel-thrown elements. 
The books are entirely hand-built, with 
marbelized porcelain slabs for the covers rather 
than glazes, and identified with imaginary, 
although often autobiographical and punning, 
titles and authors. These book stacks also make 
ironic reference to the functional origins of 
ceramic work: the pile of letters topped by a 
pipe in a bowl lifts to reveal a camouflaged jar. 

House of Cards with Two Volumes displays 
in a direct and obvious manner the precar- 
iousness and the tensile characteristics of 
Shaw's assemblages, and acknowledges the 
versatility and fragility of the porcelain 
medium. The decoration of the playing cards 



120 




S on a Pillow, 1971 

Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 8^2 x 7 x 5" 

(21.6x17.8x12.7 cm) 

Collection of Nancy and Roger Boas 



121 



also exhibits Shaw's mastery of the ceramic- 
transfer procedure that he began using in 1974 
to replicate labels, newspapers, lettering, and 
patterning. The selected image is converted to 
a photographic silkscreen and is screened on 
decal paper, using low- fire, color-stable glazes 
as the inks. A clear coat of enamel is screened 
over the entire image to hold it in place when it 
is transferred from the decal paper — after 
immersion in water — to the porcelain object. 
The piece is then given a third and final firing, 
which burns away the protective enamel 
coating and fluxes the screened glaze into 
place. The use of this process of duplicating 
images is not only analogous to the mold 
procedure of slip-casting objects, but maintains 
the integrity of the ceramic makeup of the 
entire sculpture. 

By 1978 Shaw's desire to make figurative works 
but to also continue his exploration of the 
variations and possibilities in the still-life genre 
resulted in walking figures. These works, much 
larger, looser, and more open than earlier pieces, 
can be perceived as highly animated, anthropo- 
morphic still lifes. Their final configuration is 
derived from Shaw's own preparatory sketches, 
but their inspiration and associations are related 
to scarecrow figures, children's stick figures, 
carved figures from primitive cultures, and 
American folk painting and sculpture. Junkman 
Walking (1978) is a blocky, marching figure, 
characteristically composed of discarded junk, 
which at the same time uses and makes reference 
to paints, painting, drawing, ceramics, farm 
tools, school books, natural and milled woods, 
and commercial products. These walking figures 
are always in motion, making awkward, halting 
gestures that reflect the nature of their body 
parts. Mike Goes Back to T. (1980), titled after a 
friend of Shaw's who returned to Texas, depicts a 
striding figure with paint-can head and body, a 
wine bottle for a lower leg, and a paint brush 
hand that appears to be quick on the draw. These 
figures have advanced Shaw's work in scale and 
complexity, synthesizing technique, craft, 
ceramics, painting, and sculpture. 



L22 




Cup on a Rock, 1972 

Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 12 x 9 x 654" 

(28x22.9x15.9 cm) 

Collection of the artist, courtesy Braunstein Gallery, 

San Francisco 



123 




Teapot, 1973 

Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 8V2 x IOV4 x 10%" 

(21.6 x 26 x 26.4 cm) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; In Memory of 

Alma Walker, given by her friends 



121 



Richard Shaw- 
Born in Hollywood, 1941 

Studied at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, California, 
(1961-63); San Francisco Art Institute (B.F.A. 1965); New 
York State College of Ceramics, Alfred (1965); University of 
California, Davis (M.A., 1968) 

Taught at San Francisco Art Institute (1966-present); 
University of California, Berkeley (1970); University of 
Wisconsin, Madison (1971) 
Lives in Fairfax, California 



Selected Solo Exhibitions 

1967 San Francisco Ail Institute 

1968 Dilexi Gallery, San Francisco 

1970 Quay Gallery, San Francisco 

1971 Quay Gallery, San Francisco 
1973 Quay Gallery, San Francisco 

1976 Braunstein/Quay Gallery, New York 
Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco 

1977 Jacqueline Anhalt Gallery, Los Angeles 

1979 The Arts and Crafts Center and Michael Berger 
Gallery, Pittsburgh 

Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, "Richard 
Shaw: Ceramic Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue 

1980 Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York 

1981 Braunstein Gallery, San Francisco 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

1965 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New York, "New Ceramic Forms" 

1966 Museum West, American Craftsmen's Council, San 
Francisco, "Ceramics from Davis" 

1969 National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., "Objects: USA— The 
Johnson Collection of Contemporary Crafts" (traveled 
nationally). Exhibition catalogue, text by Lee Nordness 

1970 The Brooklyn Museum, New York, "Attitudes" 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1970 

Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture." 
Exhibition catalogue 

1971 Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American 
Crafts Council, New- York, "Clayworks: 20 Americans." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Paul J. Smith 

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, 
"Contemporary Ceramic Art: Canada, USA, Mexico and 
Japan" (traveled to National Museum of Modem Art, 
Tokyo). Exhibition catalogue, text by Kenji Suzuki 



1972 Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami. Coral 
Gables, Florida, "Phases of New Realism." Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by John J. Baratte and Paul E. Thompson 

San Francisco Museum of Art, "A Decade of 
Ceramic Art, 1962-1972: From the Collection of Professor 
and Mrs. R. Joseph Monsen." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Suzanne Foley 

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, "International 
Ceramics 1972." Exhibition catalogue 

1973 San Francisco Museum of Art, "Robert Hudson/ 
Richard Shaw: Works in Porcelain." Exhibition catalogue, 
text by Suzanne Foley 

1974 San Francisco Art Institute, "Ceramic Sculpture." 
Exhibition brochure, text by Phil Linhares 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
Downtown Branch, "Clay." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Richard Marshall 

1975 Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C., "Clay USA." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Daniel Fendrick 

1976 The Art Gallery, California State University, 
Fullerton, "Richard Shaw, Ed Blackburn, Tony Costanzo, 
Redd Ekks, John Roloff." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Suzanne Foley 

Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New- 
Hampshire, "Contemporary Clay: Ten Approaches" 
(traveled to Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, 
Middleton, Connecticut). Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Malcolm Cochran 

Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine 
Ails, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., "The 
Object as Poet." Exhibition catalogue, text by Rose Slivka 

San Francisco Museum of Modem Art, "Painting 
and Sculpture in California: The Modem Era" (traveled to 
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C.). Exhibition catalogue, text by Henry T 
Hopkins. 

1977 William Hayes Ackland Art Center, University of 
North Carolina, Chapel Hill, "Contemporary Ceramic- 
Sculpture." Exhibition catalogue, text by Louise Hobbs 

Grossmont College, El Caj6n, California, 
"Viewpoints: Ceramics 1977." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Erik Gronborg 

Laguna Beach Museum of Ait, California, 
"Illusionistic Realism." Exhibition catalogue 

1978 Everson Museum of Ail, Syracuse, New York, 
"Nine West Coast Clay Sculptors, 1978" (traveled to The 
Arts and Crafts Center of Pittsburgh). Exhibition 
catalogue, texts by Margie Hughto and Judy S. Schwartz 

1979 The Denver Art Museum, "Reality of Illusion" 
(traveled to University Galleries, University of Southern 
California, Los Angeles; Honolulu Academy of Arts; The 
Oakland Museum, California; University Art Museum, 
University of Texas, Austin; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of 
Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York). Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Donald J. Brewer 



125 



Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, "A 
Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978" 
(traveled to Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of 
Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.). 
Exhibition catalogue, texts by Garth Clark and Margie 
Hughto 

Richard L. Nelson Gallery, University of California, 
Davis, "Large-Scale Ceramic Sculpture." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by L. Price Amerson, Jr. 

Security Pacific Bank, Los Angeles, "West Coast 
Clay Spectrum Artists." Exhibition catalogue, text by 
Elaine Levin 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, "West Coast 
Ceramics." Exhibition catalogue, text by Rose Slivka 

1980 Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of 
Saskatchewan, Regina, "The Continental Clay Connection." 
Exhibition catalogue 

Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine 
Ails, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 
"American Porcelain: New Expressions in an Ancient Age." 
Exhibition catalogue, text by Lloyd E. Herman 

1981 American Craft Museum, New York, "The Clay 
Figure" 

San Diego Museum of Art, California, "Sculpture in 
California, 1975-80." Exhibition catalogue, text by Richard 
Armstrong 

University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, 
"Centering on Contemporary Clay: American Ceramics 
from the Joan Mannheimer Collection." Exhibition 
catalogue, text by Jim Melchert 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, "1981 
Biennial Exhibition." Exhibition catalogue 



Selected Articles and Reviews 

Alan R. Meisel, "Letter from San Francisco," Craft 

Horizons, 30 (October 1970), p. 60. 
Alan R. Meisel, "Letter from San Francisco," Craft 

Horizons, 31 (October 1971), pp. 53-54. 
Alan R. Meisel, "Letters: San Francisco," Craft Horizons, 

33 (August 1973), p. 26. 

Mary Fuller McChesney, "Porcelain by Richard Shaw and 
Robert Hudson," Craft Horizons, 33 (October 1973), 
pp. 34-37. 

Alan R. Meisel, "Letters: San Francisco," Craft Horizons, 

34 (February 1974), pp. 48-49. 

Mikhail Zakin, "New York: Clay," Craft Horizons, 36 

(February 1976), p. 21. 
Peter Frank, "Reviews: Richard Shaw," Art News, 75 

(March 1976), p. 139. 
Mary Fuller, "The Ceramics of Richard Shaw," Craft 

Horizons, 36 (December 1976), pp. 34-37. 
Judith L. Dunham, "Richard Shaw: Acuity of Percept and 

Concept," Artweek, January 27, 1979, pp. 1, 24. 
Thomas Albright, "San Francisco: Star Streaks," Art 

News, 78 (April 1979), p 101. 
Hal Fischer, "San Francisco: Richard Shaw," Artforum, 17 

(April 1979), p 77. 
Rose Slivka, "Review of Exhibitions: Richard Shaw at 

Frumkin," Art in An/erica, 69 (February 1981), p. 153. 
Grace Glueck, "Art: The Clay Figure' at the Craft 

Museum," New York Times, February 20, 1981, p ('17. 



126 




Wood Slab with Cup and Case Knife, 1974 
Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 6 x 8 x 12" 
(15.2 x 20.3 x 30.5 cm) 
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Lowell Jones 



127 







Moonlight Goose, 1978 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

21 x If) x 16" (61 x 40.6x40.6 cm) 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 



128 




Stack of Books #i, 1978 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

9Vfe x IV-i x 13" (24.1 x 19.1 x 33 cm) 

Collection of Harold and Gavle Kurtz 



129 




Hoits* of Cards with Two Volumes, 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers. 

If, x 19V2 x 7 1 /. (38.1 x 49.", x 18,1 cm) 
Private collection 



130 




Figure on a Palette, 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

39 x 13 x 18" (99.1 x 33 x 45.7 cm) 

Private collection 



131 




Junkman Walking, 1978 

Porcelain with imderglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

31 x 9 x 8" (78.7 x 22.9 x 20.3 cm) 

Collection of Austin Conkey 



132 




Mike Goes Back to T., 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

41% x 14 x 19" (106 x 35.6 x 48.3 em) 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Burroughs 

Wellcome Purchase Fund 81.4 



133 




Melodious Double Stops, 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

39 x IIV2 x 9" (99.1 x 29.2 x 22.9 cm) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Purchased with 

matching funds from the National Endowment for the 

Arts, and Frank 0. Hamilton, Byron Meyer, and Mrs. 

Peter Schlesinger 



i::i 



Catalogue 



Dimensions are given first in inches, then in centimeters; 
height precedes width, precedes depth. 



Peter Voulkos 

Flying Black, 1958 

Glazed stoneware, 39% x 45 x 24 (99.7 x 114.3 x 61) 

The Weisman Family Collection 

Camelback Mountain, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 45K x 19M> x 20K (114.9 x 49.5 x 51.4) 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen 
D. Paine 

Cross, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 31 x 21% x 9M> (78.7 x 55.2 x 24.1) 
American Craft Museum, New York; Gift of S. C. Johnson 
& Sons, Inc., from "Objects: USA" 

Hack's Rock, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 60 x 24M> x 16K (152.4 x 62.2 x 41.3) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip S. Hack 

Little Big Horn, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 62 x 40 x 40 (157.5 x 101.6 x 101.6) 
The Oakland Museum, California; Gift of The Art Guild of 
the Oakland Museum Association 

Sevillanas, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 56% x 28 x 16% (144.1 x 71.1 x 42.9) 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Albert M. Bender 
Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund Purchase 

Sitting Bull, 1959 

Glazed stoneware, 69 x 37 x 37 (175.3 x 94 x 94) 

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; Bequest of 

Hans G. M. De Schulthess 



Untitled, 1980 

Stoneware, 48 x 18M> x 19 (121.9 x 47 x 48.3) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Pappajohn 

Untitled, 1981 

Stoneware, 34M> x 16 x 16 (90.2 x 40.6 x 40.6) 

Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston 



John Mason 

Vertical Sculpture — Spear Form, 1957 
Glazed stoneware, 67 x 28 x 12 (170.9 x 71.1 x 30.5) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 
Gallery, San Francisco 

Vertical Edge Sculpture, 1961 
Glazed stoneware, 64 x 16 x 9 (162.6 x 40.6 x 22.9) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 
Gallery, San Francisco 

Vertical Sculpture, 1961 

Glazed stoneware, 64 x 18 x 10 (162.6 x 45.7 x 25.4) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Max Hutchinson Gallery, 
New York 

Vertical Sculpture, 1962 

Glazed stoneware, 64 x 16 x 12 (162.5 x 40.6 x 30.5) 

Private collection 

Desert Cross, 1963 

Glazed stoneware, 54 x 43Vfc x 15 (137.2 x 110.5 x 38.1) 

Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno 

Cross Form— White, 1964 

Glazed stoneware, 67 x 66 x 21 (170.1 x 167.7 x 53.3) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 
Gallery, San Francisco 



Red River, 1960 

Glazed stoneware 37 x 12M> x 14V 2 (94 x 31.8 x 36.8) 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of the 
Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc. 66.42 

USA hi, I960 

Glazed stoneware with epoxy paint, 34 x 11% x 10M> 

(86.5x29.8x26.7) 

The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; 

Gift of Wayne Parrish 

Anada, 1968 

Glazed stoneware, 34% x 11% x IIV2 (87.3 x 29.8 x 29.3) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; 

Gift of Mrs. Edgar Sinton 



Untitled, 1964 

Glazed stoneware, 66 x 63% x 17 (167.6 x 161.3 x 43.2) 
San Francisco Museum of Modem Art; Gift of the 
Women's Board 

Dark Monolith with Opening, 1965 
Glazed stoneware, 65 x 62 x 24 (165.1 x 157.5 x 61) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Max Hutchinson Gallery, 
New York 

Geometric Fonn — Dark, 1966 

Glazed stoneware, 59 x 43 x 25 (149.9 x 109.2 x 63.5) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. C. David Robinson 



137 



Geometric Form— I, 1966-81 

Glazed stoneware, 58M> x 59M> x 17 (148.6 x 151.1 x 43.2) 
Collection of the artist, courtesy Max Hutchinson Gallery, 
New York 



S. D. Green, 1966 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 5 x 4 x 9V-> 

(12.7x10.2x24.1) 

Collection of James J. Meeker 



Modular Series— Firebrick, 1981 

Firebrick, variable dimensions 

Collection of the artist, courtesy Max Hutchinson Gallery, 

New York 



Gran and Cream, 1967 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 3M> x 4 x 9 

(8.9 x 10.2 x 22.9) 

Collection of the artist 



Kenneth Price 

Untitled, 1959 

Glazed earthenware, 21>a x 20 x 20 (54.6 x 50.8 x 50.8) 

Collection of Billy Al Bengston 

M. Green, 1961 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 10 x 13 x 11/2 

(25.4 x 33 x 29.2") 

Collection of Betty Asher 

Silver, 1961 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, ll'/a x llVi x 13V<4 

(29.2 x 44.5 x 33.7) 

Collection of Edward S. Bevan 

B. T. Blue, 1962 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 10 x 6M> x 6V2 

(25.4 x 16.5 x 16.5) 

Collection of Becky and Peter Smith 

S. L. Green, 1963 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 9V2 x \0Yi x IOMj 

(24.1 x 26.7x26.7) 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of the 

Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc. 66.35 

Untitled, 1963 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, 9 x 6 x 6 

(22.9 x 15.2 x 15.2) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lauter 

Specimen B1520.06, 1964 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware with fabric and wood 
construction, 12 x 15M> x 7 (30.5 x 39.4 x 17.8) overall 
Collection of the artist 

D. Violet, 1905 

Lacquer and acrylic on stoneware, x 4 x 5 

(15.2 x 10.2.x 12.7) 

Collection of the artist 



Oyster Bay Rock Cup, 1967 

Glazed earthenware, 4V-z x 3V4 x 2% (11.4 x 9.5 x 6.9) 

Collection of the artist 

Blind Sea Turtle Cup, 1968 

Glazed earthenware with sand, glass and wood 

construction, 63V- x 29M> x 32 (161.3 x 74.9 x 81.3) overall 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York; 

Fractional gift of Charles Cowles 

Nose Cup, 1968 

Glazed earthenware, 3x3x5 (7.6 x 7.6 x 12.7) 

Collection of Frank Stella 

Snail Cup, 1968 

Glazed earthenware, 2% x 3 x 4M> (6.7 x 7.6 x 11.4) 

Collection of the artist 

Wart Cup, 1969 

Glazed earthenware, 3 x 3 x 4 (7.6 x 7.6 x 10.2) 

Collection of Joan and Jack Quinn 

Slate Cup, 1972 

Acrylic on earthenware, 5V2 x 6 x 5 (14 x 15 x 12.7) 

Collection of Edwin Janss 

Untitled Cup, 1973 

Glazed earthenware, 4% x m x 3% (12.1 x 8.9 x 9.5) 

Collection of Fredericka Hunter 

Untitled Cup. 1973 

Glazed earthenware, 4V-> x 3% x 4 (11.4 x 9.5 x 10.2) 

Collection of the artist 

Untitled Cup, 1974 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; 4% x 5 1 1 x 4 (12.1 x 13.3 x 

10.2) and IV! x V/s x 2 (3.2 x 2.9 x 5.1) 

Collection of the artist 

Death Shrine 1. 1972-77 

Glazed earthenware, wood construction, and mixed media 
accessories, 102 x 102 x 87 (259.1 x 259.1 x 221) overall 
Private collection 



138 



Town Unit 1, 1972-77 

Glazed earthenware and wood cabinet, 70 x 39 x 20 

(177.8 x 99.1 x 50.8) 

Private collection 

Unitl, 1972-77 

Glazed earthenware and wood cabinet, 70 x 71 x 41 

(177.8 x 180.3 x 104.1) overall 

Collection of Katherine and Benjamin Kitchen 

Israeli Sculpture, 1979 

Glazed earthenware, 7 x 6V4 x 5^2 (17.8 x 15.9 x 14) 

Private collection 



Cheek, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 34 x 21 x 21 (86.4 x 53.3 x 53.3) 

Collection of Sydney and Frances Lewis 

Roy of Port Costa, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 34 x 18% x 18% (86.4 x 47.6 x 47.6) 

Collection of Sydney and Frances Lewis 

Whistling in the Dark, 1976 

Terra-cotta and glazed earthenware, 35V2 x 20 x 20 

(90.2 x 50.8 x 50.8) 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of 

Sydney and Frances Lewis 77.37 



De Chirico's Bathhouse, 1980 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; 8V4 x 8 15 /i6 x 3Yi6 (21 x 21.1 

x 7.8) and % x 4% x 2Yz (1.9 x 11.1 x 6.4) 

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; Foundation for the Arts 

Collection, Anonymous gift 

TailPiece, 1980 

Glazed earthenware, 6Vi x 8 x hYz (15.9 x 20.3 x 14) 

Willard Gallery, New York 



Mr. U natural, 1978 

Glazed earthenware, 53M> x 22 x 22 (135.9 x 55.9 x 55.9) 

Private collection 

Splat, 1978 

Terra-cotta and glazed earthenware, 33 x 22 x 22 

(83.8 x 55.9 x 55.9) 

Collection of the artist, courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen 

Gallerv, San Francisco 



Black Widow, 1981 

Acrylic and glaze on earthenware, 9V2 x 5 x 2 5 /s 

(24.1x12.7x6) 

Collection of the artist 



Robert Arneson 

Smorgi-Bob, The Cook, 1971 

Glazed earthenware on vinyl-covered wood base, 

72 x 60 x 60 (182.3 x 152.4 x 152.4) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Purchase 

Classical Exposure, 1972 

Terra-cotta, 96 x 36 x 24 (243.8 x 91.4 x 61) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Fendrick 



Casualty in the Art Realm, 1979 

Glazed earthenware, 8 x 97 x 132 (20.3 x 246.4 x 335.3) 

Hansen Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco 

Pablo Ruiz with Itch, 1980 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; bust 291/2 x 22 x 22 (74.9 x 
55.9 x 55.9), pedestal 58 x 27V 2 x 15 (147.3 x 69.8 x 38.1) 
Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York 

Nasal Flat, 1981 

Glazed earthenware, two parts; bust 37V4 x 36M> x 18 (95.9 
x 92.7 x 45.7), pedestal 46% x 28 x 2OV2 (117.8 x 71.1 x 52.1) 
Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York 



David Gilhooly 



Fragment of Western Civilization, 1972 

Terra-cotta, 41 x 120 x 120 (104.1 x 304.8 x 304.8) overall 

Australian National Gallerv, Canberra 



Artemis, First Fertility Goddess, 1971 

Glazed earthenware, 18 x 15 x 13 (45.7 x 38.1 x 33) 

Private collection 



Current Event, 1973 

Terra-cotta and glazed earthenware, 9M> x 173 x 84 

(24.1 x 439.4 x 213.4) 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 

The Palace at 9 A.M., 1974 

Terra-cotta and glazed earthenware, 24 x 118 x 84 

(61 x 299.7 x 213.4) 

Allan Frumkin Gallerv, New York 



The Miracle of Production, 1972 

Glazed earthenware, 13V2 x 14 x 28 (34.3 x 35.6 x 71.1) 

Collection of David Bourdon 

The Honey Sisters Do a Garden Blessing, 1973 
Glazed earthenware, 19 x 33 x 26 (48.3 x 83.8 x 66) 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; William L. Gerstle 
Collection, William L. Gerstle Fund Purchase 



139 



Drowning in the Consumer Market, 197:3-74 
Glazed earthenware, 19 x 33 x 26 (48.3 x 83.8 x 66) 
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 

Count of Crumbs Dressed for His Bar Mitzvah, 1974 
Glazed earthenware, 21 x 21 x 21 (53.3 x 53.3 x 53.3) 
Collection of Barney A. Ebsworth 

Frog Fred's Prayer Stela: The Presentation of His Neic 
Work, 1975 

Glazed earthenware, 25V 2 x 18 x 8 (64.8 x 45.7 x 20.3) 
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Ross Turk 



Richard Shaw 

S on a Pillow, 1971 

Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 8Y> x 7 x 5 

(21.6x17.8x12.7) 

Collection of Nancy and Roger Boas 

Cup on a Rock, 1972 

Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 12 x 9 x 6V4 

(28 x 22.9 x 15.9) 

Collection of the artist, courtesy Braunstein Gallery, 

San Francisco 



The Many Lives of Frog Fred Memorial Obelisk, 1975 
Glazed earthenware, 38V4 x 12 x 13 (96.8 x 30.5 x 33) 
Collection of the Capital Group, Inc., Los Angeles 

The Ten Commandments, 1975 

Glazed earthenware, SV/z x 25% x 17M> (79.2 x 65.4 x 44.5) 

Australian National Gallery, Canberra 

The Beavers Doing Their Self-Portraits, 1976 
Stained earthenware, 38 x 8 x 8 (96.5 x 20.3 x 20.3) 
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Krisik 

Frog de Kooning with Cubist Pigeons, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 29 x 22 x 22 (73.7 x 55.9 x 55.9) 

Private collection 

Frog Victoria (Herlouth Year As Queen), 1976 
Glazed earthenware, 33M> x 24 x 19^2 (85.1 x 61 x 49.5) 
Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia 

Mao Tse Toad, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 31 x 21 x 14Va (78.7 x 53.3 x 36.8) 

The Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, Ontario 

Merfrog and Her Pet Fish, 1976 
Glazed earthenware, 42 x 29 x 48 (106.7 x 73.7 x 121.9) 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Mr. 
and Mrs. William A. Marsteller, the John I. H. Baur 
Purchase Fund (and purchase) 79.26 

Tantric Frog Buddha Camping Out, 1976 

Glazed earthenware, 26^2 x 16 x 15 (67.3 x 40.6 x 38.1) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Shoenberg 



Teapot, 1973 

Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 8Y2 x 10 Ya x 10% 

(21.6 x 26 x 26.4) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; In memory of 

Alma Walker, given by her friends 

Wood Slab with Cup and Case Knife, 1974 
Porcelain with underglaze and glaze, 6 x 8 x 12 
(15.2 x 20.3 x 30.5) 
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Lowell Jones 

Roof Cup, 1976 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze and overglaze transfers, 

10x7x61/2(25.4x17.8x16.5) 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Millard F. Rogers, Jr. 

Styrofoam Cup with Pencils, 1976 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

16x12x1(40.6x30.5x2.5) 

Collection of Byron Meyer 

Open Book #2, 1977 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

9M> x 10% x 9 (24.1 x 27.3 x 22.9) 

Collection of Cecile N. McCann 

Junkman Walking, 1978 

Porcelain with underglaze. glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

31 x 9 x 8 (78.7 x 22.9 x 20.3) 

Collection of Austin Conkey 

Moonlight Goose, 1978 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

21 x 16 x 16(61 x 4(1.6 x in. Hi 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 

Stack of Books #/, 1978 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers. 

9^2x7^x13(24.1 x 19.1 x 33) 

Collection of Harold and Gavle Kurtz 



1 in 



Target with Coffee Can, 1978 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

30 x 13V2 x 9 (76.2 x 34.3 x 22.9) 

University Art Museum, The University of New Mexico, 

Albuquerque 

Figure on a Palette, 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

39x13x18(99.1x33x45.7) 

Private collection 

House of Cards with Two Volumes, 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

15 x 19V2 x m (38.1 x 49.5 x 18.4) 

Private collection 

Melodious Double Stops, 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

39 x UVz x 9 (99.1 x 29.2 x 22.9) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Purchased with 

matching funds from the National Endowment for the 

Arts, and Frank 0. Hamilton, Byron Meyer, and Mrs. 

Peter Schlesinger 

Mike Goes Back to T, 1980 

Porcelain with underglaze, glaze, and overglaze transfers, 

41 3 /4 x 14 x 19 (106 x 35.6 x 48.3) 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Burroughs 

Wellcome Purchase Fund 81.4 



141 



Photograph Credits 



Photographs of works of art reproduced have been 
supplied, in many cases, by the owners or custodians of the 
works, as cited in the captions. The following list applies to 
photographs for which an additional acknowledgment is due. 

Richard Andrews, p. 29 

Courtesy Braunstein Gallery. San Francisco, p. 134 

Joel Breger, p. 92 

Tony Costanzo, p. 30 

eeva-inkeri. New York, p. 102 

Roy M. Elkind, pp. 84, 85 

M. Lee Fatherree, pp. 59, 90, 101 

Brian Forrest, p. 71 

Courtesy Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York, pp. 100, 103 

Roger Gass, p. 107 

Tod Greenaway, p. 115 

Courtesy Hansen Fuller Goldeen Gallery. San Francisco, 

pp. 112, 114, 119 

Simpson Kalisher, p. 15 

Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art. p. 33 

John Mason, p. 17 

Colin McRae, p. 09 

Manuel Neri, p. 25 

Courtesy The Oakland Museum, p. 21 left 

Courtesy The Quay Gallery, San Francisco, p. 128 

Courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, pp. 12. 

is, 19. 21 right, 20, 27, 33 

Schopplein Studio, San Francisco, pp. 89, 121, 123, 

Frank J. Thomas, pp. 50, 57, 60, 05, 66, 07 

Jerry L. Thompson, pp. 51, 73, 97. 105, 117, 133 

Peter Voulkos. pp. 14, 15 

David S. Watanabe, p. 132 

Lew Watts, p. 31 



143 



This publication was organized at the Whitney Museum of 
American Art by Doris Palca, Head, Publications and 
Sales; Sheila Schwartz, Editor; and James Leggio, 
Associate Editor. At the San Francisco Museum of Modern 
Art, Victoria Potts assisted in research for Suzanne Foley's 
essay and Anne Munroe compiled the biographies, 
bibliographies, and exhibition histories, based on the initial 
research of Beth C. McBride. 

Designer: Nathan Garland 

Typesetter: Elizabeth Typesetting Company 

Printer: Princeton Polychrome Press 



111